“Mr. Putin is one of the most important leaders in the world, and insofar 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.”
That’s according to director Oliver Stone, of “JFK” and “Snowden” fame, who talked to the Sydney Morning Herald recently about “The Putin Interviews,” airing soon on Showtime.
Over the course of two years, Stone and Vladimir Putin met four times. Stone taped everything, and now the interviews will begin airing June 12. “It’s not a documentary as much as a question and answer session,” Stone said. The interviews deal with everything from whistleblower Edward Snowden to conspiracy theories that Putin hacked the 2016 presidential election, a theory Stone has dismissed.
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“That’s an internal war of politics in the U.S. in which the Democratic Party has taken a suicide pact or something to blow [Donald Trump] up; in other words, to completely delegitimize him and in so doing blow up the U.S., essentially,” Stone told the Herald. “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.”
He called Democratic efforts to prove collusion between Republicans and the Russian government a “path that leads nowhere.”
Sound bites released thus far in various trailers show Putin denying any election manipulation theories, saying Snowden is not a traitor, and claiming U.S. citizens villainize Russia far too much.
The interviews could go one of two ways. Stone can be a stubborn, headstrong force at times — something his scripted films prove, as he is always pushing someone’s buttons. Last year’s “Snowden,” for instance, took direct shots at former President Barack Obama at a time when most films refused to acknowledge the failings of the administration. That headstrong nature can be good in an interviewer.
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At other times, Stone has been accused of being too friendly and chummy with violent dictators such as Hugo Chavez and the late Fidel Castro. He has made documentaries about both — and he’s been accused of not pressing the two (and others) hard enough on human-rights violations.
One thing about “The Putin Interviews” is for sure: Stone’s interviews will have more substance than Putin’s Sunday interview on the debut episode of Megyn Kelly’s new NBC show. Luckily for Stone — Kelly has set an incredibly low bar for interviews with world leaders like Putin.