My Next Guest Needs No Introduction has taken David Letterman on outings to Bronx bodegas with Cardi B, go-kart race tracks with Billie Eilish, and straight to Lizzo’s living room. But the host’s forthcoming special edition interview required more extensive traveling, specifically to a secret underground bunker 300 feet below ground on an active subway platform in Ukraine to speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I’ve never done anything quite like this,” Letterman states in the preview trailer for the interview, which was filmed in October and will premiere via Netflix on Monday, Dec. 12. The bunker, which welcomed a number of audience members to sit in on the conversation, is said to be located in the safest part of Ukraine capital Kyiv.
“When we were planning this trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Letterman shares in a voiceover while footage captures him on a quick-moving train en route to the interview location nine months into the war. “It had been months since Russian troops were driven out of the city. But just a week ago, Russia launched missiles and drones into Ukraine, including several that hit Kyiv.”
Zelensky sat for the interview wearing a black hoodie that reads “I’m Ukrainian” in bold white letters across the front. The trailer features footage of the president declaring to the camera: “We are all here defending our independence, our country. Our truth is that it’s our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of this. Glory to Ukraine.”
Zelensky was recently named Time Magazine’s 2022 Person of the Year in recognition of his global impact over the past 12 months. In the accompanying essay, he journeys to Kherson despite warnings from his bodyguards about the structural instability of the area, which had been overtaken by Russia early in the war that has been raging on since February.
“My security was 100 percent against it. They took it hard. They can’t control practically anything in a region that has just been de-occupied. So it’s a big risk, and, on my part, a bit reckless,” Zelensky stated in the Time interview. “ “As I see it, it’s my duty to go there and show them that Ukraine has returned, that it supports them. Maybe it will give them enough of a boost to last a few more days. But I’m not sure. I don’t lull myself with such illusions.”