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I didn't want 'Argo' to be politicised: Ben Affleck (Interview)

New Delhi,Cinema/Showbiz, Wed, 17 Oct 2012 IANS

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Only too aware that some people may misinterpret the story he is telling in "Argo", set in Iran, Oscar winning actor-director Ben Affleck says the thriller is a "real film" based on "a true story for the audience".

"I tried to make a movie that is just factual. And that's another reason why I tried to be as true to the story as possible because I didn't want it to be used by either side," Affleck told IANS in an e-mail interview from Los Angeles.

"Argo", set in the 1970s, talks about CIA 'exfiltration' specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck), who concocts a risky plan to free six Americans, who took refuge at Canadian ambassador's house in Iran. The multi-talented Affleck, who won the Oscar for best screenplay for 'Good Will Hunting", also directs the film, which releases in India Friday.

"I didn't want it to be politicised internationally or domestically in a partisan way. I just wanted to tell a story that was about the facts as I understood them. And what that meant was probably two people with different political perspectives would walk away with two different interpretations.

"Because I find, most times, your interpretation depends on what you went into the situation believing...You know, it's like, if people want to misrepresent something, they'll do it anyway. You can't worry about that too much. We tried and made an honest and real film based on a true story for the audience," he added.

Asked what all he did to recreate the era, Affleck said: "You have to get past the 1970s hair and clothes. That was an obstacle we had... It's an era that can be goofy.

"Luckily, Jaqui West, our costume designer, was really smart. She didn't want to do 'Shaft' with the fur coats and bell-bottoms and stuff. It was going to be the true 1970s clothes and hairdos and everything, but they would be part of the texture of the background, not the foreground telling the story."

A Warner Bros production, "Argo" has a unique blend of satirical humour with intense drama.

"When I approached the movie, I thought, I won't do anything, comically, that upends the sort of seriousness of the rest of the movie, that chews away at the fabric of that reality," he said.

The film created an Oscar buzz after being screened at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, but Affleck isn't looking at that aspect right now.

"Right now, we're just trying to get the movie out. There isn't anybody out there who has paid a dime to buy a ticket yet to see this movie. When you work for as long as we all have on something like this, the focus is just on the audience coming to see it," he said.

"Otherwise, you're just a tree in the woods. You've spent all that time for a plastic disc. The goal is to have it be as large a collective experience as possible," he added.

(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at

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