Oliver Stone is bringing his four-hour interview series with Vladimir Putin to Showtime. The Oscar-winning director, who had landed a coveted, lengthy speaking slot with the tyrannical Russian president, recently announced his intention of spinning their conversations into a documentary. “Mr. Putin is one of the most important leaders in the world,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald last week, “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.”
Stone will trace Putin’s career as president, from 2000 to the present day, and tackle huge topics including Edward Snowden and the 2016 election. While his reputation as a controversial filmmaker precedes him, Stone’s comments on Putin have been notably even-handed and restrained. “If Vladimir Putin is indeed the great enemy of the United States, then at least we should try to understand him,” he said recently.
Indeed, for those expecting a Frost/Nixon–style combat, it’s important to note where Stone stands on the biggest issues in relation to Russia and the United States. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Stone remains a “fervent supporter” of Julian Assange, “strongly refutes” claims about Russian influence on the Trump presidency—which isn’t exactly up for debate at this point—and reportedly voted for Jill Stein as president last November. So while Stone’s four-hour documentary—which he describes as more of a “question and answer session”—will certainly draw eyeballs and justifiable intrigue, these two men will likely have more to agree on than a relatively hard-hitting interview would require.
Showtime has pushed aggressively into the documentary space recently, having also picked up Laura Poitras’ Julian Assange film Risk—which has reportedly undergone major changes in the wake of the election and made a splash at its first New York screening on Saturday. The Putin Interviews premieres Monday, June 12, on Showtime, and will air in hour-long increments on the following three nights.