Final week, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was christened a conflict hero when he vowed to remain in his nation’s capital of Kyiv and assist fend off Vladimir Putin’s troops. “I’m right here. We won’t lay down any weapons. We’ll defend our state, as a result of our weapons are our fact,” mentioned Zelenskyy, in a video the politician filmed himself on the streets of Kyiv. This weekend, the Twitterverse went deep on Zelenskyy’s backstory—revealing a venerable leisure profession identified effectively by his countrymen, however one that’s much less acquainted to residents of different nations.

Earlier than changing into president of Ukraine, Zelenskyy’s political expertise was restricted to enjoying Ukraine’s president on the favored satirical TV collection he created and produced, Servant of the Folks. (Within the collection, Zelenskyy starred as a trainer who inadvertently turned president. The collection ended the identical 12 months Zelenskyy turned the precise president.) The comic and actor—who educated as a lawyer earlier than veering into present enterprise and finally politics—was sort of a Jon Stewart–sort determine in Ukraine. 

It’s an unlikely backstory for a politician, even in a post-Trump world—however the web’s collective thoughts was blown when Hugh Bonneville identified on Twitter that Zelenskyy additionally voiced Paddington Bear within the Ukrainian model of the animated kids’s movie. Maybe much more extremely, Zelenskyy not solely competed in Ukraine’s model of Dancing With the Stars again in 2006, however gained the competitors after competing in sizzling pink, fringed bell-bottoms, and at one other level, in a blindfold.

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However expensive readers, Zelenskyy’s leisure résumé extends even past his competition-winning cha-cha. As a result of, for a couple of decade earlier than changing into president, Zelenskyy was busy appearing as a romantic-comedy lead. Forward, a glance again at his work within the rom-com realm.

No Love within the Metropolis (2009), No Love within the Metropolis 2 (2010), and Love in Vegas (2012)

Cowritten by Zelenskyy himself, 2009’s No Love within the Metropolis is about in New York and stars the longer term Ukrainian politician as a promiscuous dentist who, with two fellow expats, enjoys a hedonistic way of life in America till a person (particularly, in line with bluray.com, “a drunken Russian nightclub proprietor”) places a curse on all three, sapping them of their virility. After many comedic makes an attempt to reclaim their machismo, they uncover that the nightclub proprietor was St. Valentine himself(!) and that they can have intercourse, however solely with an individual whom they honestly love. (Additionally price mentioning: There’s a scene during which Zelenskyy goes to a Occasions Sq. strip membership sporting a white bucket hat.)

The movie was sufficient of a business success to warrant a 2010 sequel regardless of solely incomes a 50% viewers rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On the Russian film board Kinopoisk, some viewers deemed it “a pleasing shock.” Others, nevertheless, criticized the movie for a plot they thought of a Intercourse and the Metropolis rip-off, repackaged for males. Wrote one viewer (in a message translated by Google), “In Hollywood, too many don’t shine with appearing abilities. However at the least there the celebrities are charismatic and might revive the movie!”

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Workplace Romance. Our Time (2011)

A remake of the 1977 Soviet movie Workplace Romance, this rom-com was additionally cowritten by Zelenskyy, and options him as a nerdy monetary analyst and single father of two women who doesn’t know tips on how to de-shell a lobster—however manages to win over his sizzling boss anyway. Bafflingly, the finance workplace is stuffed with feminine staffers who appear to be runway fashions; the movie reads like a story characteristic on H.R. violations. However Zelenskyy’s character is nice, and takes his daughters to highschool on a scooter outfitted with a sidecar.

The movie solely earned a couple of 45% ranking on Kinopoisk, and triggered audiences to lament what they seen because the unhappy state of Russian and Ukrainian cinema. Wrote one disgusted viewer, in a assessment translated by Google, “the dialogues [are] so filled with holes that the event of relationships amongst orangutans seems way more romantic and definitely extra logical.”

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Rzhevsky Versus Napoleon (2012)

This movie is just not a rom-com, per se, nevertheless it appears price mentioning, provided that Zelenskyy performs the political chief Napoleon. The whimsical Nineteenth-century historic comedy hinges on Napoleon’s insatiable sexual needs, and Napoleon’s rivals attempting to cease his advances by sending an attractive temptress his means. This film, which was coproduced by Zelenskyy, can be notable for a Jean-Claude Van Damme cameo during which the motion star seems for 70 seconds as himself, however wearing Mr. Darcy–fashion interval garb and inexplicably talking each French and English—which nobody else within the movie does. (Van Damme reportedly agreed to look within the movie without cost, so long as his four-bedroom lodging in his beloved Ukraine was lined.)

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The nice viewers members of Kinopoisk solely gave the movie a 30% ranking, regardless of wanting to love the movie because it was filmed in Ukraine. Warned one viewer, “You shouldn’t search for any logic, appearing abilities and expertise on this movie.”

8 First Dates (2012)

Cowritten, produced by, and starring Zelenskyy, the movie options the longer term Ukraine president as an in-demand veterinarian(!) who wakes up one morning subsequent to a girl he doesn’t acknowledge. Even worse, each he and his unusual bedmate are in relationships with different individuals. The 2 try to go their separate methods, however proceed waking up subsequent to every, Groundhog Day–fashion, till they work out tips on how to break the cycle. In a single scene, Zelenskyy convincingly examines a pug with a studded collar.


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