Ukraine's comedian-turned-president meets Hollywood royalty, Tom Cruise

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By Yuliya Talmazan  with NBC News World News
Image: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and American actor, film dir
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and American actor Tom Cruise share a laugh during their meeting in Kyiv on Monday.   -  Copyright  Ukrainian Presidential Press Office

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy may be a central character of the U.S. impeachment scandal, but this week the former comedian was back in his comfort zone as he met American actor Tom Cruise.

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.

Zelenskiy was a successful media producer and actor before he ventured into politics. He has also previously played Ukrainian president on TV.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and American actor Tom Cruise met in Kyiv on Monday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and American actor Tom Cruise met in Kyiv on Monday.Ukrainian Presidential Press Office

"The President of Ukraine, for his part, told the guest about his own experience in cinema," his office said.

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.

"I am happy that Ukraine is starting to attract world-class stars," the president said on his Facebook page next to photo with smiling Cruise.

A transcript of Zelenskiy's July phone call with President Donald Trump released last week suggested the U.S. president tried to seek the Ukrainian leader's help to investigate a political rival, leading to an impeachment inquiry.

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.

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.