Volodymyr Zelensky may have been swept into the center of a major political storm in Washington, one that could impeach a US president, but the Ukrainian president still made some time to meet Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise this week.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the president’s press office said Cruise, who arrived in Kyiv on Zelenskiy’s invitation, was interested in filming one of his new movies in the country, NBC reported.
Zelenskiy was a successful media producer, comedian and actor before he ventured into politics. He has also previously played Ukrainian president on TV.
At the meeting Monday, the Ukrainian leader shook Cruise’s hand, pointing out that he was “good-looking,” to which Cruise replied, “It pays the rent.”
“The President of Ukraine told the guest about his own experience in cinema,” his office added.
Zelenskiy also pointed out that a recently passed law on subsidies for foreign film-makers in Ukraine is meant to attract investment in the country’s economy, NBC reported.
“I am happy that Ukraine is starting to attract world-class stars,” the president said on his Facebook page next to a photo with a smiling Cruise.
A transcript of Zelenskiy’s July phone call with President Donald Trump released last week suggested the US president tried to seek the Ukrainian leader’s help to find dirt on a political rival, leading to an impeachment inquiry, NBC reported.
There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who at one point served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company.
Since his election, Zelenskiy has been meeting with world’s political leaders, trying to build goodwill and support for his country, which is still grappling with the war in the east and rampant corruption, NBC reported.
He met with President Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last week amidst controversy surrounding their phone call.
Zelenskiy has denied being pressured by Trump, reiterating on Monday that he will not “follow any commands.”
His meeting with Cruise is not the first time that Zelenskiy entertains Hollywood royalty.
The president has previously shared photos of his meetings with American actors Mila Kunis, who hails from Ukraine, and her husband Ashton Kutcher, as well as actress Robin Wright and Chernobyl TV series producer Craig Mazin.