Oliver Stone is making the rounds to promote his four-part documentary series for Showtime on Vladimir Putin, and he didn't exactly get softball treatment from Stephen Colbert on Monday night. (Video here.) Colbert began by pointing out that Stone has "gotten a little heat" from critics who think The Putin Interviews is too sympathetic to the Russian leader. (The Daily Beast, for instance, calls the series a "wildly irresponsible love letter to Vladimir Putin.") To which Stone responded, “You know, you have to be polite because this was a two-year deal, and it was four times," per Deadline. And then things turned a bit more prickly. Colbert played a clip and wondered why Stone didn't ask a followup when Putin denies any interference in the US election.
“That doesn’t seem like an interview," said Colbert. "That seems like an opportunity for him to merely propagandize.” Stone responds that he does press Putin on such matters later in the documentary, though he repeatedly avoids saying anything critical about Putin even when asked by Colbert if he had "anything negative" to say at all. "What's wrong with detente with Russia," asks Stone, seemingly a little irked. He praises Putin for his devotion to country, his "calmness," and his courtesy, and he drew some groans from the audience when he said Putin had been "insulted and abused." It didn't seem to help when he clarified, "abused in the press; in the media."