Ben Affleck directs and stars in Warner Bros.’ acclaimed thriller “Argo” in which he plays real-life CIA “exfiltration” specialist Tony Mendez, an expert in getting people out of hostile spots.
|Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.|
“Argo” chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis, focusing on the little-known role that the CIA and Hollywood played—information that was not declassified until many years after the event.
On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, CIA agent Tony Mendez comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.
Screenwriter Chris Terrio says, “Tony Mendez has to go into what is really the ‘belly of the beast’—the scariest place in the world if you’re an American—and get six people out. And the clock is ticking. He is also coming up against forces—whether bureaucratic or geopolitical—that are making the task even harder than it already is. At a certain point, you can’t imagine it will end well because there are too many things saying it won’t. The pressure on him couldn’t be higher, but the essence of Tony is that he’s just a guy doing his job.”
Affleck notes, “Tony steps up and does what he’s asked to do, completely in secret. No fanfare, no high-fives…just do the job and, if you succeed, go home and keep your mouth shut. He puts his life on the line to try and save these people and that’s heroic stuff. It’s impressive and also quite humbling.”
Producer Grant Heslov remarks that Affleck possesses many of the qualities they saw in the role. “Ben has a sort of quiet intensity about him that fit how we envisioned Tony. He is also a very smart guy, and you need this character to feel smart; it’s important that he appear in control of the situation and is capable of calling an audible if need be. And Ben is naturally funny, which was great in delivering that brand of dry humor, particularly when Tony heads to Hollywood.”
Affleck concludes, “`Argo' is thrilling and suspenseful and scary, but it’s also funny and, I hope, entertaining. On a deeper level, it’s about the power of storytelling because for so long this story could not be told. But this is a moment when we can all be proud of what these people did.”
“Argo” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.