A number of upcoming Hollywood movies may feed the American public's sudden interest in all things Russian, but their makers know too well that showing Vladimir Putin in a poor light may not be a bright idea.
Fox's Red Sparrow and EuropaCorp's Kursk will rekindle the Cold War rivalry but Vladimir Putin would predictably be a no show.
Hollywood Reporter's recent take on how upcoming Hollywood movies on Russian themes will shape out confirms why many studios have been harbouring for some time. Vladimir Putin may be a modern-day Khrushchev or even a Gorbachev, but he isn't just armed with nukes. He also has an army of nationalistic hackers who may not take kindly to how he is caricatured in the den of capitalism.
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"For a studio to release a movie about Putin that makes him look like a fool would be suicide. That's a certain way to be targeted [for retaliation]," said Ajay Arora, CEO of security firm Vera to Hollywood Reporter.
It is no surprise that his reservations are shared by most production houses in the United States. Notably, Fox ensured that Putin wasn't mentioned in Red Sparrow, a spy thriller based on former CIA officer Jason Matthews' novel in which Putin had a key role.
Robert Moore's A Time to Die has also been used as a source material for EuropaCorp's Kursk which will show the true story of the ill-fated Russian naval submarine which sank in 2000, killing 118 personnel. Kursk will not feature Putin even though he was the President at that time and was mentioned in Robert Moore's novel.
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The American public's interest in all things Russian has reached a level not seen since the Cold War ended, thanks to widespread reportage on the country's alleged meddling in last year's presidential elections. The public is hungry for some Cold War-esque thrillers like Top Gun, Rocky IV or Red Dawn, and Hollywood is too happy to oblige. But as long as Putin remains President, there will be an asterisk.
Aside from the ones already mentioned, 2018 may witness a number of Russia-centric movies coming in like Warner Bros.' Wonder Woman, another Rocky sequel starring Sylvester Stallone, and Sony's The Girl in the Spider's Web. This may not be the complete list, but the way producers are using creative choices to separate Putin from the Americal public's obsession for Russia explains too well how hackers have managed in gaining the upper hand in the brawl between creative freedom and raw blackmail.
Image source: Phactual