Oliver Stone has interviewed Russian president Vladimir Putin more than a dozen times over the past two years. Now, Stone and his documentary producer Fernando Sulichin have turned those chats into “The Putin Interviews,” a four-hour documentary series airing over four nights this June on Showtime.
Check out a first look at “The Putin Interviews” below. Stone most recently interviewed Putin in February, after the U.S. presidential elections (in which Putin and Russia are believed to have actively influenced). Showtime compares “The Putin Interviews” to David Frost’s famed conversations with Richard Nixon in 1977.
Stone and Sulichin were granted wide access to Putin’s personal and professional lives. “It’s not a documentary as much as a question and answer session,” Stone told the Sydney Morning Herald. “”It opens up a whole viewpoint that we as Americans haven’t heard… He talks pretty straight. I 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.”
According to Showtime, “Putin has never before spoken at such length or in such detail to a Western interviewer, leaving no topic off limits.” Among the subjects addressed: His views on President Donald Trump and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, NATO, and fostering turmoil in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.
“Prodded by Stone, Putin traverses a host of critical topics in sharp detail, including Putin’s rise to the Presidency, and long-term grip on power, his personal relationships with Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump – as well as Yeltsin and Gorbachev,” Showtime noted in announcing the program. “He also talks of the legacies of Stalin and Reagan, as well as the surveillance state and Edward Snowden’s flight to asylum in Moscow, and the resignation of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”
The interviews were held throughout the Kremlin, Sochi and Putin’s official residence outside of Moscow. In one sequence, Stone introduces screens Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire “Dr. Strangelove” for Putin, who had never seen the movie.
Stone is no stranger to interviewing powerful and controversial world figures, having previously sat down with leaders such as Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Benjamin Netanyahu for “Comandante,” “Looking for Fidel,” “Persona Non Grata” and “South of the Border.”
Stone has won three Oscars, for “Platoon,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Midnight Express,” and won an Emmy for “Indictment: The McMartin Trial.” At Showtime, he previously was behind “The Untold History of the United States,” which had the biggest premiere telecast ever for a SHOWTIME docu-series.
Fernando Sulichin, New Element Media and Rob Wilson produce “The Putin Interviews.” Sulichin’s other credits include “The Untold History of the United States,” “South of the Border,” “Comandante,” “Snowden,” “Savages” and “Malcolm X.”
Showtime Documentary Films has had a busy 2017; its upcoming entries include Laura Poitras’ “Risk,” about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks; and “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” about the life of Whitney Houston.
“The Putin Interviews” premieres Monday, June 12 at 9 p.m. ET, and will air for four consecutive nights. Here’s a first look: