Ben Affleck on trying to transcend his ‘Boston Guy’ image in ‘Argo’

Affleck may appear lost in this scene, but he seemed to know where he was going with “Argo.”

“Argo” winks at its audience a few times, but in its boldest instance, John Goodman’s character summarizes Hollywood’s stupidity for Ben Affleck’s character by telling him, “You could teach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day.”

It’s a funny moment in a serious film, and it seems like the sort of self-effacing joke that Affleck, as director, might’ve advised his actor to say on the fly.

“That one was in, that Chris Terrio did,” clarifies Affleck, giving credit to the screenwriter. “I think all writers on some level hate directors, so I think he was a little bit like, ‘I don’t know, if you don’t like the rhesus monkey thing,’ and I was like, ‘It’s genius!’”

At this point, Affleck throws his hands in the air and his voice takes on a comically higher pitch. In person, he is a combination of confidence and uncertainty, which is why it would make sense that he might have tossed a line about monkeys directing into a movie that he’s directing. “Argo” is a little bit like a Russian nesting doll in this way, as there are so many components within one another. It’s a true story that’s a movie within a movie. Affleck plays a CIA operative who saved American diplomats trapped in Iran during the hostage crisis by pretending they were in the country only to do location scouting for a science-fiction film.

“This would have been the worst movie ever made if it weren’t true,” says Affleck. “It would just seem completely absurd.”

The stakes are high in “Argo” because anybody who learns the truth about the team as he or she leaves Iran will be killed. And the stakes are high for Affleck because although he has directed two successful films — “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town” — this is his first one outside of his hometown.
“I felt like I had something to prove because everyone just thought of me as ‘Boston Guy,’” he says.

Throughout a half-hour discussion, Affleck gives credit to almost everybody who worked on the movie but himself, from the costume designer to the extras, and especially his actors.

“John Ford said, ‘Directing is 90 percent casting,’ and I think in this movie, that was even maybe a little bit higher,” he says, almost as if making “Argo” was the same sort of traumatic and triumphant team effort that the story was based on.

“It was scary,” he says. “It was hard and I was nervous, just because I saw my future career being kind of dictated by it. But I’m a little bit neurotic.”

You can go home

After Affleck proves he can do a movie set in Iran and that he’s not just ‘Boston Guy,’ what is his next move? To do the most Boston thing possible: Come back home to do a film about Hub mob legend Whi-tey Bulger with Matt Damon!
   
“I’m really glad I made this movie,” he says of “Argo,” “so I could say, ‘OK, I can go make a Boston movie now and not feel totally pigeonholed.’ And [the Bulger story is] an amazing story. … It’s a really tough story because it’s so long. And I really want to do the whole span. … I want to go from Alcatraz and when they experimented on him with LSD and all the way ending up in the farmers market in Santa Monica and he’s 83 years old. So it’s tricky to have it not be fact, fact, fact, fact, fact, and get that far and also have resonance. … I will direct it, Matt will star in it, my brother will play Billy.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…