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

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.