The Late Show: Oliver Stone Defends Putin in Extremely Awkward Interview

Filmmaker Oliver Stone hit an uncomfortable roadblock on Monday night in his press tour for the new docuseries The Putin Interviews.

During an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the Oscar-winning director teased his four-hour project (continuing tonight at 9/8c on Showtime), which features 12 interviews with Russian president Vladimir Putin filmed across a two-year span.

But Colbert’s Q&A with Stone quickly veered into awkward territory, beginning with Colbert’s suggestion that Stone didn’t grill Putin hard enough on Russia’s potential interference with the U.S. election.

“There was no follow-up on that question. He says, ‘Oh, we didn’t do it,’ and you said, ‘OK, great, see you tomorrow,'” Colbert began. “That doesn’t seem like an interview. That seems like an opportunity for him to propagandize.”

After admitting that he respects Putin for being “a strong nationalist,” Stone quickly lost the support of Colbert’s audience when he said the Russian leader has been “insulted and abused… in the press and the media,” a comment that earned loud jeers from the crowd. (The audience later giggled at Stone’s description of Putin as merely “a social conservative,” which led him to fire back, “I don’t know why you’re laughing.”)

Perhaps the highly uncomfortable conversation is best summed up by this question from Colbert: “Anything about [Putin] negative you found? Anything? Or does he have your dog in a cage someplace?”

Watch Colbert’s chat with Stone play out in the video above, then hit the comments with all of your thoughts.