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Trivia / Argo

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  • Ability over Appearance: Some Hispanics and film critics criticized the casting of Ben Affleck in the role of Mendez, who is of Mexican ancestry on his father's side. Edward James Olmos considered Affleck's casting as Mendez a "mistake", and that the actor "had no sense of the cultural dynamic of the character he was playing". However, Mendez himself has said that he was unconcerned about the casting, and noted he does not identify as Hispanic. In addition, Affleck is nine inches taller than Mendez.
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  • All-Star Cast: Most of the lead cast are name actors/actresses, including Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Kyle Chandler, Željko Ivanek, Tate Donovan, Titus Welliver, Clea Duvall, Keith Szarabajka and Rory Cochrane.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: Ben Affleck has stated that the production was granted unprecedented access to C.I.A. Headquarters, both for interiors and exteriors, and that the gratitude for that privilege belongs to Tony Mendez, the retired C.I.A. officer portrayed by Affleck in the film.
  • Banned In China: In Iran of course. But bootleg copies are selling very well there.
  • California Doubling: The film was shot in Istanbul rather than Tehran.
  • The Danza: John Goodman as John Chambers.
  • Directed By Castmember: Ben Affleck both directed the film and starred as Tony Mendez.
  • Fake Mixed Race: Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez.
  • Life Imitates Art: Just as this film (based on actual events) was released, US missions in Libya, Egypt and Sudan were attacked. Perhaps the greatest coincidence? The head of the US Embassy in Sudan, Joseph Stafford, was one of the house guests portrayed in the film. An interview with Stafford can be found here.
    • Contrary to some people's belief, Argo the fake movie is not named after Space Battleship Yamato's American version.
  • Method Acting: Ben Affleck requested that the actors playing the embassy refugees live together for a week in a house dressed with 1979 decor in order to get acquainted and to better understand the period.
  • Reality Subtext: "You can teach a Rhesus monkey to be a director in two days." This line is spoken to Ben Affleck, himself the director of this movie.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • While Chris Terrio was writing the script, he imagined Tony Mendez being played by George Clooney.
    • The script originally began by jumping directly into the protests outside the U.S. Embassy. However, Terrio and Ben Affleck did not want the film to simply be a portrayal of irrationally crazy Middle Easterners. The opening credits and prologue, which details how the U.S. helped install the Shah in power, and the Shah's subsequent corruption and brutality, was created, so as to make the anger after the Iranian Revolution understandable, while not supporting the grossly illegal and immoral hostage taking at the embassy.


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