You’re about to start hearing a lot about Ben Affleck and Argo. With summer’s sugar-shock tentpoles and men-in-tights-apaloozas officially on hiatus until next Memorial Day, theaters are beginning to fill up with movies aimed at grown-ups (and Oscar voters). One of the best of the bunch is Affleck’s directorial follow-up to The Town. It’s one of the craziest true stories you’ll ever see. Argo, which comes out on Oct. 12, tells the long-classified saga of how CIA agent Tony Mendez hatched and carried out a top-secret operation that rescued six American diplomats stranded in Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
Affleck didn’t just direct the film, he also stars (underneath some decidedly ’70s facial hair) as Mendez — a maverick exfiltration expert who enlists the help of a Hollywood producer (Alan Arkin) and a Tinseltown makeup artist (John Goodman) to whisk the Americans out of Iran by having them pretend to be a film crew for a phony sc-fi epic called.. .Argo. The film also stars Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston.
In these extended clips from Argo, you’ll get a taste of not only the absurdity of Mendez & Co.’s real-life mission — as Cranston’s CIA handler says in one scene, “This is the best bad idea we have” — but also the welcome touches of Ocean’s 11-style caper absurdity that Arkin and Goodman lend to an otherwise nail-biting thriller as they plan their ridiculous Star Wars rip-off. “My biggest fear was the competing tones,” says Affleck. “Part of the movie is a comedy/satire on Hollywood and part of it is more serious — people were hostages in Iran and my fear was if it was too silly, the audience would just think, Oh, I see, we don’t need to care about any of them and we know it will all work out. It was a tough balance to pull off.”
Click below to see six scenes from Argo: