Director flattered by Iran’s plans for film about 1979 US hostage crisis, as Argo continues run of success at Golden Globes
Argo director Ben Affleck has described suggestions that Iran is planning a film telling the other side of the 1979-81 hostage crisis as a “badge of honour” for his critically acclaimed drama.
Speaking at the weekend prior to his film’s surprise double win at the Golden Globes on Sunday night – Argo won best film while Affleck won best director – the actor turned film-maker said he was pleased to have delivered something so powerful that the Iranian authorities felt the need to hit back.
“You have to understand, this is a sort of Stalinist regime in this place that is extremely repressive,” Affleck told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s governing a nation full of millions of wonderful, amazing people, so to be part of this movie Argo that seems to have kids up and paying attention – so this Stalinist regime feels the need to sort of push back somehow, I think is a tremendous badge of honour.”
Last week, director Ataollah Salmanian told the Iranian news agency MNA that he was working on a film to be called The General Staff, which was designed as an “appropriate response to the ahistoric film Argo”. He said he hoped to secure funding from the Art Bureau wing of the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organisation.
Argo, in which Affleck also stars as CIA agent Tony Mendez, dramatises the 1979 “Canadian caper”, in which six American diplomats fled Iran using Canadian passports in a scheme devised by the CIA, film industry professionals and the Canadian government. Argo was the name of the space fantasy movie concocted by agents to convince the Iranian revolutionary authorities that the diplomats had been in the country to look for filming locations.
Speaking at a Bafta dinner in Los Angeles on Saturday, Affleck said that he was disappointed at his failure to pick up an Oscar nomination for best director. Argo remains in the running for best picture and has nods in six other categories. “A few days ago, I woke up and the movie I directed and produced and starred in was nominated for an Academy Award as best picture,” said Affleck. “If you can’t be happy with that, your prospects for a life with happiness are very, very limited.”
Affleck added: “I would have been really disappointed if the movie hadn’t been nominated. But it was, and I feel really happy and proud. This story you are talking about speaks to why, which is [that] the movie has had echoes out there in the world that are really profound. I think that’s the most important thing.”
By The Guardian
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