The announcement of the deal with attorney Anatoly Kucherena came a week after Stone and long-time producing partner Moritz Borman acquired rights to “The Snowden Files, The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man,” written by journalist Luke Harding.
“Time of the Octopus,” to be published later this year, tells the fictional story of an American whistleblower who spends three weeks in limbo in the transit area of the Moscow airport and occupies his time there talking to a Russian lawyer about his life and what motivated him to expose a massive American surveillance program.
Stone plans to use both books as sources for the screenplay.
“Anatoly has written a ‘grand inquisitor’ style Russian novel weighing the soul of his fictional whistleblower, Joshua Cold, against the gravity of a ‘1984’ tyranny that has achieved global proportions,” Stone said. “His meditations on the meaning of totalitarian power in the 21st century make for a chilling, prescient horror story.”
Kucherena said, “The more I engaged in the Edward Snowden case, the more I was impressed by his story. To understand Edward and his actions, I had to ‘tune to his wavelength’ and try to balance between the rational and intuitive perception of his world. Having experienced these incredible sensations, I realized that I had to write about them, but only in the form of a novel that would not claim any sophisticated philosophical conclusions.”
Stone has started to write the screenplay and Borman is fast-tracking it as a European co-production to start filming before the end of the year.
Snowden was charged a year ago by the U.S. Department of Justice with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property and his passport was revoked a week later by the U.S. Department of State. Snowden flew from Hong Kong to Moscow the next day and was stranded in the Moscow airport transit zone for 39 days while he applied for asylum.
Russian authorities granted him a one-year temporary asylum on Aug. 1.