The controversial filmmaker renowned for his fiercely intelligent accounts of US history has come on board to direct the tale of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in what will be a race to the screen with rival project No Place To Hide.

According to a report on The Guardian, the project is being assembled as a European co-production and will commence shooting towards the end of the year.

The screenplay is based on Guardian journalist Luke Harding’s book The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World’s Most Wanted Man, chronicling the former NSA contractor’s leaking of documents.

The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald broke the story of government surveillance in June 2013 and is at the centre of No Place To Hide, which James Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are adapting from Greenwald’s book of the same name.

Stone’s regular producer Moritz Borman is on board The Snowden Files and it is understood the filmmakers will collaborate closely with Harding and other journalists at The Guardian acting as story consultants.

In a statement Stone said, “This is one of the greatest stories of our time. A real challenge. I’m glad to have the Guardian working with us.”

Snowden remains in Russia and faces 30 years imprisonment should he return to the US.