Open Road Films has released the first image of Oliver Stone's upcoming biopic "Snowden" which features Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the infamous leaker Edward Snowden and, surprise, it's not what you'd expect.

Much of Snowden's past has been skimmed over in public discussion.  People are aware he worked for the CIA for a time and eventually resigned before working for a Dell division contracted by the NSA.  That's where he acquired most of the thousands of classified documents he eventually leaked to news agencies around the world.  What many don't know, however, is that earlier in his life Snowden joined the U.S. Army Reserve and underwent Special Forces training before, reportedly, breaking both legs during a training accident. His attempt to serve his country as a soldier is your first look at Gordon-Levitt as Snowden, which you can check out at the top of this post.

Stone's first film since 2012's "Savages" features an intriguing cast including Shailene Woodley as Snowden's girlfriend Lindsay Mills, Zachary Quinto as Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, Tom Wilkinson as Guardian reporter Ewen MacAskill and Melissa Leo as "CITIZENFOUR" director Laura Poitras, among others.  "Snowden" is still in production and Open Road has currently scheduled it to open on Christmas Day (for the moment a wide release). 

"Snowden" is a curious entry on the 2016 awards landscape as it will come less than a year after "CITIZENFOUR" took home the Best Documentary Oscar.  It's also arriving only two years after Snowden's story began to dramatically unfold on the global scene.  A story, mind you, that is not over.  Snowden currently has found safe haven in Russia, but it's unclear how long that will last beyond his current three-year residency permit.  Moreover, Stone has been down this road before.  There was a lot of buzz about "W.," 2008 his biopic of George W. Bush, but despite an impressive performance by Josh Brolin, that movie felt rushed and lacking perspective.  Could "Snowden" suffer a similar creative fate?

"Snowden" is currently scheduled to open nationwide on Dec. 25.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.