Ben Stiller and Sean Penn will not be making any films in Russia anytime soon.
The United States' foreign ministry released a list of 25 high-ranking officials, experts, and cultural figures who have been permanently barred from entering Russia on Monday. The list comes in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
In recent months, Stiller and Penn have publicly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin. Stiller was a representative of the UN Refugee Agency and spent World Refugee Day (June 20) with Ukrainian refugees currently living in Poland. The Emmy-winning writer-director-actor then spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, telling the embattled leader, "You're my hero."
In June, Penn began filming a documentary for Vice about the Ukraine war, having visited the country the previous fall to prepare a production scenario in case the worst happens.
In a statement issued at the time, Penn threatened to smelt his Oscars if Zelensky was not invited to speak.)
Stillers and Penns are joined by 23 other names, including United States senators Mark Kelley, Kevin Kramer, Rick Scott, Krysten Sinema, and Pat Toomey, as well as trade officials, such as US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
Russia's foreign ministry claims that these strategic stop orders are in line with the country's reciprocity principle.
The statements continue: American authorities' hostile actions, which continue to follow a Russophobic ploy, destroying bilateral ties, and increasing confrontation between Russia and the United States, will continue to be rebuffed.
Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner were among the 963 people who were placed on the stop list back in May. That order also penalized high-ranking government officials, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as well as many journalists and politicians (some of whom had already died: a major oversight Russian intelligence managed to overlook).
Representatives for Penn and Stiller did not immediately respond to IndieWire's plea for comment. No word yet on Russia's plans for the whole of the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards, which collectively gave Putin the finger in March.