DETAILS: Argo doesn’t fit neatly into any genre. How did you manage to make a movie that’s both a sharp comedy about the movie industry and also a complicated historical drama?
Ben Affleck: That was the toughest thing. I thought, “This is my third movie—I have confidence that I know how to shoot, I know good actors, and the script is good. The one thing for me to do is to deal with tone.” And tone is really hard. When you get tone wrong, it’s not like you can go reshoot it. You’re just fucked. The movie’s destroyed.
My big concern was that there’s so much comedy, and if it became too slapstick or too goofy, suddenly you don’t care about those people trapped in Iran, because you know they’re going to get saved. I always said the joke is the first thing to go. If it borderline does anything wrong to the rest of what we’re doing, it has to go, even if it’s gut-busting.
After that, I just made sure that every moment felt real. I wanted these actors to feel that they were in this house in Tehran. So we went to all these cliché-Method lengths.
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