A chat between Stephen Colbert and Oliver Stone got pretty awkward on Monday night while chatting about the director’s interview with Vladimir Putin. In light of the current investigation into Russian hacking during the 2016 election and the nation’s connections to the Trump campaign, Stone’s four-part interview with Putin seems like it is hitting at the perfect time. But reading a few reviews for the Showtime special will give you the feeling that Stone is more interested in humanizing the controversial leader than holding him to the flames for answers. As he tells the LA Times, he’s not out to prove his toughness against the Russian leader:
“My role is really to go to him and ask him to explain how he sees the world and what he thinks,” Stone says by phone. “By listening to him, we may not agree with it, but it’s important we hear it.”
Stone has clearly tried to take some sort of high road with this special, but it’s also the path that seems to hit all the wrong notes for many seeking answers here in the USA. You will apparently be quite happy if you were hoping to see Stone treat the President of Russia to a movie date, though.
That’s likely why Stephen Colbert feels the need to grill Stone during this interview. It’s far from a vicious dog fight or shouting match you might see on cable news, but there’s a clear divide between the two throughout. The audience doesn’t help matters at all by laughing at Stone’s claims that Putin is the victim and has been assaulted in the media.
The stiffest strike that Colbert lands on Stone is when he asks the director if Putin has his dog in a cage somewhere, summoning images of that classic National Lampoon cover. Stone isn’t in the mood for much laughter throughout, but this moment might cut a little deeper than you initially would think:
That’s Stone’s son, Sean, working for RT America and certainly someone who is more important than a dog in a cage. While it’s no secret that Stone has gone against the orthodox views of Russia and the Soviet Union’s role in world affairs, it’s definitely the wrong time to try to take those views against the swell of public opinion and political intrigue.
(Via The Late Show)