Filmmaker Oliver Stone is making a movie about and with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Putin Interviews, which spans four hours, will air on Showtime on June 12 at 9 p.m. and continue for the next three consecutive nights. Stone’s Untold History of the United States was a big success for the premium cable network.
Oliver Stone sat down with Putin, the former KGB officer who enjoys near-dictatorial powers over his country, in Moscow multiple times over a two-year period to compile the documentary footage covering a wide range of subjects. They apparently even watched Stanley Kubrick’s classic Cold War doomsday satire Dr. Strangelove together, which was a first-time viewing for the Russian leader.
“Showtime likened the Stone interviews with Putin to The Nixon Interviews, a series of conversations between David Frost and Nixon that aired 40 years ago,” Deadline Hollywood noted.
— Hank Walton (@jiaflixsite) May 1, 2017
In revealing the Putin project, the controversial director told the Sydney Morning Herald that he originally began the dialogue with the Russian leader when he traveled to Moscow to speak with Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who sought refuge there.
“It’s not a documentary as much as a question and answer session. Mr Putin is one of the most important leaders in the world and in so far as the United States has declared him an enemy — a great enemy — I think it’s very important we hear what he has to say…It opens up a whole viewpoint that we as Americans haven’t heard.”
The longtime Russian president seldom grants interviews to western media, so it was a big “get,” as they say in the media industry, for Stone. The director, 70, remarked that he developed a rapport with Putin when Putin realized that the miniseries would have limited editing.
“He talks pretty straight. think we did him the justice of putting [his comments] into a Western narrative that could explain their viewpoint in the hopes that it will prevent continued misunderstanding and a dangerous situation – on the brink of war.”
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) May 1, 2017
In the documentary, Putin reportedly talks about Syria, Ukraine, relations with the U.S., and the Snowden case as well as U.S. Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump and his Russian predecessors among other issues, including alleged Russian meddling in Election 2016, which shows up in the teaser trailer embedded below.
Stone’s Snowden biopic underperformed for the Oscar-winning director of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July and a Vietnam War veteran.
In a lengthy, 2016 year-end Facebook essay, Stone assailed the mainstream media for putting out what he described as fake news and propaganda about Putin’s regime hacking the U.S. election for the benefit of Donald Trump. At that time, he claimed that “disgraceful” mainstream media Cold War-style “groupthink” was behind such news reports, and the “hysteria” could lead to war between our two countries.
In September of 2016, the conspiracy-minded JFK director and Scarface and Midnight Express screenwriter insisted that domestic spying under Obama, for whom he voted twice, was more intrusive than the internal surveillance carried out by the ruthless secret police in the former communist East Germany.
A 2016 Jill Stein voter who is no fan of President Trump, Stone accused the Democrats in the Herald interview of pushing the Russian influence narrative to delegitimize Trump as part of what he described as the opposition party’s political suicide pact.
“What they’re doing is destroying the trust that exists between people and government. It’s a very dangerous position to make accusations you cannot prove.”
In the interview, he also insisted that the U.S. intelligence agencies who claim Russia hacked the election can’t be trusted.
Putin and Oliver Stone. This is going to be must-see TV…. https://t.co/kox2z7pcOX
— Matthew Belloni (@THRMattBelloni) May 1, 2017
Stone also expressed admiration for Julian Assange and seems to believe the WikiLeaks founder’s denial about receiving leaked documents about the Hillary Clinton campaign from Russian officials.
Given the ongoing FBI and congressional investigations into Russian hacking, Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews will likely generate big ratings for Showtime and otherwise make a lot of news.
[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]