Just how simultaneously meta and cinema verité will Ben Affleck’s next directorial effort, Argo, a cinematic re-creation of the Iranian hostage crisis, be? Well, for the six actors playing the hostages, plenty: Vulture has learned that Affleck intends to have the ensemble cast actually live together in a single “safe-house” for half a month prior to the start of production, to better re-create the claustrophobic and tense conditions of the six American diplomats unlucky enough to be inside the U.S. embassy in Tehran during the Islamic revolution in November 1979.
A quick refresher on the original Argo, for those too young to remember: When the U.S. embassy fell, 66 American diplomats and family members were trapped inside for 444 days, but six actually escaped into the street, ultimately hiding at the Canadian embassy. These six would spend the next 84 days as faux “houseguests” of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor while the CIA implemented a covert operation called “Argo”: A CIA hostage extraction expert named Tony Mendez (who’ll be played by Affleck) concocted a ruse wherein the six “houseguests” were presented as part of a fake Hollywood film crew scouting movie locations for an equally fake movie called, naturally, Argo. Canadian Parliament even had its first secret session since World War II to grant the six real Canadian passports. Display ads to promote Argo were actually taken out in the American press. The Argo cover was meant not only to allow the extraction of the six escaped American hostages from the Canadian embassy, but also for the infiltration of a U.S. commando team that could retake the American embassy and free the remaining 60 hostages, too. The six ultimately escaped three months later, but word of the operation broke in the Canadian press, scotching plans for the rescue of the remaining U.S. hostages.
So, just to recap: Six actual Hollywood actors will soon be living together in a real house, in real life, so they can all better pretend to be six real American diplomats living in a guest house pretending to be Hollywood people. Now that is some Method acting!