Oliver Stone is nothing if not controversial. The Oscar-winning director has made a career out of crafting pseudo-revisionist history films like JFK—as well as the recent Snowden—in which reality and speculation all sort of coalesce together into an entertaining narrative that may or may not be accurate in the traditional sense. For this, Stone has taken a lot of heat over the years from several outspoken critics.
So, of course, when Stone decided to film a four-hour series of interviews with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, people started to get upset. It quickly became clear that the interviews in question weren’t particularly hostile. Honestly, they’re starting to look like flat-out propaganda.
In the U.S. the series will air on Showtime, but it’s also recently been recently snatched up by Russia’s state-run television network, Channel One, THR reports. Putin himself says that he hopes the interviews will take away some of the “anti-Russian sentiment” in the United States. Meanwhile, when Stone went on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Colbert couldn’t get Stone to disparage Putin at all. Everything seemingly points to a Russian-backed piece of propaganda about to be disseminated in America by a well-known American director. The implications here are at least mildly disturbing.
But here’s the thing about Stone: For all of his posturing and opinions, the man is still a Hollywood director. His goal in life is to make films that make money, as it should be. Maybe he does or doesn’t believe Putin is just the best dude ever, but what Stone does believe is that people are more likely to watch something that’s courting controversy. In a world built upon who can rage-tweet the loudest, it would appear Stone’s just a little more clever with his marketing.
Check out Stone’s interview with Colbert below.