Oliver Stone, a filmmaker who has grown to be increasingly political and contentious over the span of his career, takes on one of the most controversial figures in postmodern politics – Russian President Vladmir Putin – in the first extended clip released by Showtime to promote the upcoming documentary miniseries, The Putin Interviews. Having directed such films as JFK, Nixon, W., and Snowden, Stone is accustomed to being imbedded within political and historical discourses when it comes to his work. Showtime’s first clip shows that in this respect, The Putin Interviews will fare no different – although there’s no doubt that interviewing one of the most imposing world leaders poses its own unique challenges.
The Putin Interviews is a four-part documentary miniseries that has a simple premise: Oliver Stone travels to Russia to sit down and engage in lengthy discussion with President Putin. The series’ trailer shows that Stone is not afraid to be blunt with the Russian leader, with Stone asking Putin point-blank about Russia’s role in the United States presidential election and Donald Trump.
Showtime describes The Putin Interviews as granting audiences “unprecedented access to both Putin’s professional and personal worlds,” going on to detail that Stone “interviewed the Russian leader more than a dozen times over the course of two years, most recently in February following the U.S. presidential elections.”
A portrait of President Putin done in this manner is incredibly timely considering the massive swirl of controversy surrounding the current United States administration over possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Just this past week, the New York Times reported that President Putin deviated from his previous statements that entirely denied any Russian involvement in the outcomes of the election, claiming that hypothetically, private hackers could have been acting in a “patriotically minded” manner. It is a story that shifts and grows every day, pointing even further to the relevancy of the Oliver Stone Showtime series.
The first clip to be released from the series reveals the particulars of what viewers can expect from Stone, both in terms of the types of questions he’ll sling at Putin and how he is able to work with the Russian leader during their time together. The newly released footage emphasizes the show’s mission to provide a peek behind the curtain and show how Putin conducts himself outside of press meetings, speeches, and other public engagements. Despite the fact that Putin is aware he is being filmed and thus still maintains his professional and guarded veneer, there are moments that provide glimpses of him in a more candid form.
Oliver Stone once proclaimed when promoting the show that, “If Vladimir Putin is indeed the great enemy of the United States, when at least we should try to understand him.” Despite Stone’s blatant political leanings, whether one agrees with them or not, the topic of the Russian-United States relationship is no doubt an important one. The recently released clip would suggest that even if one does not agree with Stone’s politics, it is worth the watch if not simply to see Putin grapple with his questions onscreen.
All episodes of The Putin Interviews will air over four consecutive nights, with the first episode premiering on Monday, June 12 at 9pm EST on Showtime.