New Zealand Is Pissed About Argo

(L-r) ALAN ARKIN as Lester Siegel and BEN AFFLECK as Tony Mendez in “ARGO,” a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures in association with GK Films, to be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Photo: Claire Folger/Warner Bros.

Almost a month after winning the Best Picture Oscar, Argo is still taking heat. This time from an unexpected source: New Zealand. It all stems from a small line in the film, when Ben Affleck’s character is being debriefed on the whereabouts of the Americans in Iran: “Brits turned them away. Kiwis turned them away. Canadians took them in.” New Zealand is offended by how their role was trivialized, as in reality they did take in the Americans for a bit and continued to bring them food when they were with the Canadians.

Affleck had responded to the complaints last month before the Oscars, saying he “loves New Zealand” and “New Zealanders.” He added: “It’s tricky … You are doing a historical movie and naturally you have to make some creative choices about how you are going to condense this into a three-act structure.”

New Zealand’s parliament, however, did not accept that apology. They recently passed a motion saying Affleck “mislead the world about what actually happened.” The lawmaker who introduced the motion, Winston Peters, added, “It’s a diabolical misrepresentation of the acts of courage and bravery, done at significant risk to themselves, by New Zealand diplomats.”

This controversy even went all the way up to their prime minister, who basically told everyone to relax. He reasoned, “This is Hollywood, and they do make movies. And a bit like when they transfer a book to a movie, often it’s a little bit different.” Adding, “I think we’ve made our point and we should probably move on.” If you say so, prime minister.

New Zealand Is Pissed About Argo