News / Arts & Entertainment

Affleck Premieres Critically-Acclaimed 'Argo' in Washington

Director and actor Ben Affleck plays around while posing for photographers at the premiere of his film Argo in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012.
Director and actor Ben Affleck plays around while posing for photographers at the premiere of his film Argo in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012.
Mana Rabiee
— U.S. and Canadian leaders commemorated their two countries’ close ties and cooperation this week at the premiere of a movie about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis in which 52 American diplomats were held captive for more than a year.

The movie, Argo, opens in the United States this weekend and its director and star, Ben Affleck, introduced it at a private showing at the Canadian Embassy.

The film is based on the true story of a covert Central Intelligence Agency operation to rescue six Americans who managed to escape when Islamist demonstrators took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and captured most of its diplomats. The six who escaped secretly took refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador.

Affleck, who also wrote the screenplay, plays Tony Mendez, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist who gets the six American escapees out of the country by having them impersonate a Canadian film crew scouting movie locations in Iran.

"This movie is about cooperation [and] the great things that are possible with diplomacy,” Affleck said at a private cocktail reception at the Canadian Embassy before the film’s screening.

Affleck was addressing several hundred guests at the embassy, including members of Congress, CIA officials and former Tehran embassy hostages, including two of the six portrayed in the film.

Bob Anders, one of the two, said the most difficult part of the ordeal came several days after their escape from the U.S. Embassy when he and the others were in hiding before contacting the Canadians.

“We were kind of lost and didn’t know what to expect,” Anders, now in his sixties, said in an interview. “That’s when I called my Canadian friend and said ‘We’re hiding out; we don’t know what to do,’ and he says ‘Well, come on, you can stay with us.’ So I said, ‘I’ve got…other people with me’ and he said ‘That’s OK, bring them over.”

The highlight of the evening came when Affleck introduced several of the real-life people portrayed in the film. In addition to the former hostages, they included Canada’s ambassador to Iran at the time, Ken Taylor, and his wife, Pat. Affleck said both had put themselves at “great risk” by agreeing to provide the Americans safe haven when others had refused.

“One of the more beautiful aspects of [this story] is that this is about the Canadians who stepped up,” said Affleck. “There were folks that didn’t want to take in our people who escaped the embassy. Governments, some friends of ours, who said ‘You know what? This is inappropriate for us. We don’t want to absorb this risk.’ The Canadians did absorb this risk.”

The film director called the episode a “very special turning point in diplomacy,” and said it served as a “model in international relations.”

“It demonstrates, as well the danger that diplomats put themselves in for our lives every day. We were reminded of this tragically recently in Benghazi,” Affleck said, referring to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others who were killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last month.

Among the other guests at the event were CIA director David Petraeus and former Tehran hostages William Daugherty and Rocky Sickmann, both of whom were held by the Iranians for the entire 444 days of what came to be known as the Iran hostage crisis.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."