Hi Reddit! I’m director Oliver Stone, and I’m pleased to be at the Reddit NYC headquarters to talk about my movie, SNOWDEN, which is in theaters TONIGHT. You may know me from my previous work, Platoon, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Wall Street, Wall Street 2, World Trade Center, and the Untold History of the United States. I felt very passionate about making the SNOWDEN movie, and am excited for you all to see it. Now AMA!

PROOF: https://twitter.com/SnowdenTheMovie/status/776197333784473601

MORE PROOF: http://i.imgur.com/EOAnr0O.jpg

SNOWDEN - trailer: https://youtu.be/X41bfQa7xFQ?list=PLJNMX98vLTdT73L6Z335UD-kZ_41WU5b5

EDIT: Okay, everyone! I really got a kick out of this AMA, and I hope you'll be able to share future thoughts after you see the movie!

Comments: 381 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

falsedichotomydave56 karma

Will you answer anything?

TheOliverStone46 karma

Ask me, Dave, and I'll answer you.

liamquane36 karma

What is your screenwriting process like? Do you plan methodically or just jump straight in?

TheOliverStone37 karma

I think about it, first. Essentially, organize my notes; structure comes first. But always keep in mind where the weight of the story is, and try and make it fall close to the end. Don’t forget, a good play has three acts.

amyisrunning34 karma

What do you think is the most troubling aspect of the Edward Snowden story? What message did you want to send to viewers through your treatment of that part of the story?

TheOliverStone53 karma

That his message has not yet been understood. That the risks that we all face as a generation require our attention and protest, against secret government.

liamquane25 karma

Where did the character of Gordon Gecko come from?

TheOliverStone47 karma

My dad had been on Wall Street, and I would say was a traditional kind of stockbroker who really cared about personal clients.

Gecko was a new breed that I saw in the 80s, coming on to make money for themselves only, and in the process ripping up companies, corporations, anything they could buy and strip.

That is on a political level, but on a personal level, you go inside your own family to find out the Lies your parents tell you.

BlakMakk24 karma

During the research for this movie, what fascinated you the most to find out?

TheOliverStone36 karma

Getting to know the texture of this secret world, the way they talk to each other. The codes they use. Mr. Snowden described for us the sets, the design, as close to realistic detail as he could. And also the knowledge of Lindsay Mills' importance in his life.

CoryTheDuck23 karma

Hi, I enjoyed the movie W. . Would you ever consider making a movie about the Clintons?

TheOliverStone54 karma

I enjoyed W because we treated Mr. B as a two-dimensional character, who was quite comic. There was a lot of humor in the film, but the impact of his presidency has been devastating.

As it relates to the Clintons - I’m interested in seeing with what wreckage this ends.

Frajer23 karma

Did making JFK change how you felt about his assassination?

TheOliverStone39 karma

Absolutely. I was a person who didn't question the Warren Commission in those years, until I read Jim Garrison's second book and started meeting with many people who had studied this. There was an entire community of first and second generation researchers, who tore apart the Warren Commission.

MeadKingofRuddyHall117 karma

Hello Mr. Stone. My friend's younger brother dated your daughter. One time we had to pick him up from your house and he came sprinting out the door. He had heard you were coming. He was very scared of you. What did you think of him? His last name was a medieval soldier who wore armor.

TheOliverStone15 karma

That's hilarious. How did he get that impression?

diosmuerteborracho17 karma

You are known for very serious films, but my favorite part of Natural Born Killers was Rodney Dangerfield's scene. How was he to work with, and who is your favorite stand up comedian?

TheOliverStone22 karma

I miss Rodney. He was among them. Ironically, he didn't understand the humor of what he was doing. He thought it was deadly serious, which was fine with me.

I disagree with you in general because I think there's a lot of black humor in my work. Check out U-Turn for example.

I like Will Ferrell. He's got that rubber face.

koproller16 karma

During an interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it was implied by the interviewer and not denied by Gordon-Levitt that you might be somewhat of a conspiracy theorist.

What's your favorite conspiracy theory? And what's the most frightening one (if it turns out to be true)?

TheOliverStone76 karma

I think the use of the phrase "conspiracy theory" is a way to marginalize and ridicule people who are calling for serious investigation. Too frequently used by dishonest people, who are scared of the truth.

My favorite conspiracy theory comes from my son, that many of us are related to reptiles who came to earth millions of years ago.

Ribelin200015 karma

What is your opinion on Clint Eastwood's American Sniper and Chris Kyle?

TheOliverStone15 karma

I enjoyed it very much. Outrageous, fun, larger than life of course.

I think my Wall Street movies were trying to get closer to the reality of what I saw on the street.

chopperfive15 karma

Mr Stone, have you changed any of your personal communications habits as a result of what you learned while researching and telling this story?

TheOliverStone20 karma

Yes. I have and I would certainly encourage anyone to take up one of the encryption services available. Signal is a good one.

Adamquane14 karma

As a screenwriter, do you think the studio system can support the type of free speech that your works need?

TheOliverStone37 karma

Apparently, not. Snowden was made by Europeans with a smaller distributer in America, Open Road, who did a brave job. In this era, it has become increasingly difficult to criticize or descent from our country's well-known policies of "with us or against us".

Stoooooooo13 karma

What is the best/funniest practical joke you have seen on set?

TheOliverStone22 karma

There was once an actress who was very difficult to work with on set (and ultimately was fired). One of the actors put on her back a small sign with a derogatory description of her. I didn't see it, but she was walking around for most of the afternoon being shot and seen by the crew members with this word on her back.

BlakMakk13 karma

Thank you for your service to our country Mr. Stone!

You've made a bunch of movies primarily based on the impact of certain events to America, your most notable being Platoon. Is your service in the Army a driving force behind making these types of movies?

TheOliverStone24 karma

I think Vietnam played a large role in opening my eyes, but I cannot claim to have understood the overall pattern until I made Untold History of the United States my 12-hour documentary, which was shown on Showtime in 2013. The underlying issue is the concept of lying to the people, of a government lying to the people. And that has been going on for far too long.

HarietTubmanWasWhite12 karma

Hi Mr. Stone!

You seem to be very interested in making dramatic retellings of recently occuring historical US events. Why do you find this dramatic storytelling more interesting than making a documentary? Do you have plans for any others of this nature?

TheOliverStone22 karma

Well, a movie gets seen by far more people around the world than a documentary. It's a different standard of expectation, and frankly bigger stakes. It's also very hard to do this kind of movie as a feature, because you get criticized from both sides.

ShockinglyEfficient10 karma

Alexander drew criticism for historical inaccuracies but also for your decision to include Alexander's alleged homosexuality. In retrospect, do you think people judged this movie fairly in America?

TheOliverStone14 karma

Not at all. I went back and did the ultimate cut in 2014, 10 years after, and I think it makes clearer all these issues. It's a 3:33 film with two parts, and it has plenty of sex, and even has a transgender affair.

thoughts-from-alex10 karma

How did you go about striking the balance between honouring the truth, and making an entertaining movie?

TheOliverStone15 karma

Good question, u/thoughts-from-alex. A movie has to be exciting to sit through. It's a balance. I think JFK and Snowden have imparted to the audience a great amount of information, while being entertaining.

StressedOutAlways10 karma

Can you tell me anything about the experience creating Wild Palms?, There was so little internet in 1993; not many of the cool conversations or stories came out. It remains a great piece.

TheOliverStone9 karma

Thank you, it was wonderfully ahead of its time. Bruce Wagner came to me with the idea, and we actually sold it to ABC, can you believe it? The ratings were not as great, but many people remember it.

C0uvi10 karma

How soon after Snowden's document release did you think his story could become a movie?

TheOliverStone25 karma

At first, I resisted. Glenn Greenwald had called me about possibly getting involved in his book, and I passed. It was only a few months later when I went to Moscow at this Russian lawyer's invitation and I met Ed, and it took two more meetings to agree to go ahead.

It's a great story, and I spent two and a half years on this project, so it was a tough one to tell. Many obstacles, including lack of Corporate Studio Support.

Goddard_von_Braun8 karma

After directing and co-writing the film, do you consider Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor?

TheOliverStone21 karma

You decide for yourself. The film is open today in 2,400 theaters. We tried to go straight down the line and tell the story as dramatically, but factually as possible. Love to know what you think.

feetsarefailing8 karma

If you were able to interview any one person, alive or dead, to base a movie on. And that person had to absolutely tell the truth. Who would it be?

TheOliverStone17 karma

I think I'd like to interview about two dozen people inside our secret government, and find out what's really going on.

Parictis7 karma

There's a growing trend to end the persecution of Snowden and give him a plea deal. We've already seen some good documentaries and now Bernie has spoken out in favour. With this film's release, you've seemingly taken a position. Will you continue efforts in the future, or is this your contribution and now you're moving on?

TheOliverStone9 karma

I never claimed to be an activist. As I've said before, I'm a dramatist. I will always have concerns. I will always carry concerns into the future, about the tyranny of the surveillance state.

rule2productions6 karma

What do you do to unwind? What are some of your hobbies outside of the world of film?

TheOliverStone41 karma

Sports, exercise, sex. Grass. Other secret pleasures.

two_off6 karma

What project that's been sitting on your floor would you most like to get green-lit?

TheOliverStone14 karma

I've been through a lot of battles and lost a few along the way. It would be great to have the money to go out and do the My Lai investigation and massacre the way I could do it.

But, the future projects I have to keep secret. I hope you understand.

Monte_Fisto5 karma

Boxers or briefs?

TheOliverStone12 karma

Boxers with flags on them.

lmi65 karma

Hello, Mr. Stone! Thanks for doing this AMA. What do you think the state of the United States will be like in twenty-plus years?

TheOliverStone14 karma

Great question, but I'm not a prophet. I would hope that our republic exists with a true democracy.

nkleszcz4 karma

Hello Mr. Stone!

Do you have any powerful anecdotes about the making of World Trade Center? I found it a very tough but admirable project that you had helmed. Thank you for your AMA.

TheOliverStone13 karma

As a matter of fact, we are sitting here at Ground Zero, in a new tower built over the old. I remember it as a very arduous movie to make. Complicated by politics, complicated by the sensitivities of New York City. We had severe restrictions, but we were able to recreate the world as close as possible to the real thing.

Nic Cage, Maria Bello, Michael Peña, and Maggie Gyllenhaal were all spectacular actors to work with. And it did quite well internationally as well.

CynepMeH4 karma

Just wanted to say I loved "Any given Sunday". Speaking of that, what's your favorite Football team?

TheOliverStone6 karma

I was a San Francisco 49ers fan, since Y.A. Tittle in the 1950's. But since Harbaugh took over and they lost those three climatic games, I've given up hope on them. Who do you think I should root for?

liamquane4 karma

What's the best film you've seen so far this year?

TheOliverStone8 karma

Besides Snowden, I very much enjoyed the Bourne movie.

TheRainMonster4 karma

Why did you decide to use Kitaro for the soundtrack to Heaven & Earth? At what point in your process do you feel what the music in a movie should be like?

TheOliverStone9 karma

Such a sweet question. It's one of my favorite movies and it still makes me cry when I see it. His music is deeply spiritual. He is a Japanese Buddhist and his tone fit perfectly to Le Ly's feelings.

klamonic13 karma

Who was your role model growing up?

TheOliverStone5 karma

I liked movie stars, sports champions, and historical figures like Alexander the Great.

scruffbeard3 karma

Mr. Stone, huge fan of your work! Have two questions for you: Why did Sgt. Elias have to die? and What directors from the past 30 or so years inspire you?

TheOliverStone10 karma

Elias was based on a real character, who I knew in Vietnam, and died in somewhat mysterious circumstances from what was claimed to be friendly fire.

There are many great directors and movies in the last 100 years. I keep looking at the older ones and often look at films a second and third time.

MisundrstoodMagician2 karma

Are you at all concerned about possible backlash from the Snowden movie either from the government or crazy conservatives?

If so, what do you expect will happen?

TheOliverStone10 karma

Many conservatives have supported Snowden's cause because of "Libertarian" reasons. Many Republican members of Congress would like to see the overreach of the security state peeled back. I was on O'Reilly yesterday and I think Glenn Beck today.

arcbuffalo2 karma

Is Channing Tatum as amazing as he seems?

TheOliverStone7 karma

I almost worked with him in my My Lai movie, Pinkville, which fell apart two weeks before. He was playing the helicopter pilot, who saved lives that day.

He's a good actor and wonderful dancer.

Dickdude90002 karma

Did Snowden commented on the movie?

TheOliverStone18 karma

Yes, he did, several times. He very much liked it and told the Financial Times, "On policy issues, it was as close to real as a movie can get."

Snowden appeared with the cast and me at a theater, sneak-preview on Wednesday night and sang Happy Birthday, as they gave me a cake. It was quite moving.

Happy 70th Birthday.