For those of you who don't know, 65-year-old American actor Steven Seagal is an action movie star trained in the martial arts of Aikido, Karate, Judo, Kendo and Shitō-ryū. His career peaked in the 90's with films like Under Siege, Hard to Kill and Above the Law, where he pulled off some excellent fight scenes.
But in recent years he's been attracting media attention for his unusually close relationship with Russian politicians. The action star went to Moscow in 2013 by invitation of President Vladimir Putin to visit a Russian martial arts and combat sport school. And here he is last year being offered homegrown vegetables from Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, one of Russia's closest allies:
The world was quite surprised to learn that the action movie star had even been given Russian citizenship last year, where Putin personally handed Seagal the new passport himself.
And now, he's shocked viewers of Good Morning Britain when talking about his views on recent political debates as well as his friendship with President Putin. The two are obviously close, I mean, just look at how he pronounces Putin's name:
The morning show hosts asked Seagal about his personal friendship with the controversial politician, as well as why he become a citizen of Russia last November. Seagal explained his decision at the time:
“Well, I did give a statement at the time. My father was pure Russian. I have lots of relatives here.
“I think one thing that’s sort of not known is that there are millions and millions of people in America who have dual and multiple citizenship. I think the thing that makes it controversial is all the propaganda flying about Russia.”
When asked if he'd had any direct dealings with Putin (Piers Morgan clearly didn't do his homework), Seagal responded "Well of course, many." Though Seagal said that his and Putin's friendship was not political, and that they “talk about martial arts, philosophies and people in dilemmas in life.”
They went on to talk about US politics and criticisms of Donald Trump's presidency. Seagal commented:
“I think that we have a really unfortunate situation in the sense that even though he was democratically elected, there are so many people out there that don’t think that’s the case. We have a tonne of enemies within.
"There are this whole group of leftover Obama-ites and people that feel they should overthrow Trump, and any decisions he makes, anything he tries to do, he gets blocked often from the enemies within, so it’s very difficult for him to do anything.”
He also called the NFL kneeling protest – meant as direct resistance to something Trump had said – an act that was "outrageous", "a joke" and "disgusting".
The morning show hosts drove the conversation further by saying that people have noticed how "complimentary" he is of Putin, who many believe helped "fix" the election for Trump.
Seagal then just starts talking about espionage and how "we all spy on each other", before saying speculation about Putin's involvement in the US election is "stupid". He concludes by saying that everyone is being fed propaganda and that Russia and the US should be seen as great allies instead.
People are understandably a bit startled by the exchange and Seagal's feisty opinions. But of course, the class clowns had something to say as well:
Some people think his somewhat aggressive comments in the interview are matched to a new look that is a little super-villain-esque. His look is strikingly different from his Under Siege days, but then again, it's been almost 30 years since. Despite everything, Seagal closed the interview by talking about the latest kung fu film he's working on.