Ben Affleck: Iranian Plans For Argo-like Movie “A Tremendous Badge of Honor”

Alex Ben Block
The Hollywood Reporter
Ben Affleck: Iranian Plans For Argo-like Movie “A Tremendous Badge of Honor”

Ben Affleck is somewhat flattered that the government of Iran is financing a movie called The General Staff based on the story that came out of the 1979 hostage crisis, which is told in his movie Argo.

“You have to understand,” Affleck tells The Hollywood Reporter, “this is a sort of Stalinist regime in this place that is extremely repressive. 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 honor.”

Speaking at the BAFTA Tea on Saturday, Affleck – who was named best director on Thursday by the Broadcast Critics (who also declared Argo was best picture of the year) - said the only thing that bothered him was the lead on a Jan. 10 New York Times article about plans to make The General Staff financed by the Iranian government, which suggested he was having a bad week, in part because he did not get an Oscar nomination as director as he did from the Golden Globes voters.

“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.”

Argo was nominated for seven Oscars. “I would have been really disappointed if the movie hadn’t been nominated,” said Affleck. "But it did, and I feel really happy and proud this story you are talking about speaks to why, which is the movie has had echoes out there in the world that are really profound. I think that’s the most important thing.”