TIFF PRESS CONFERENCE: Ben Affleck reveals the secret to faking Canadian at the Argo presser
For a Canadian audience, Ben Affleck’s third film (as a director) is an interesting proposition. Argo is based on the so-called “Canadian caper” of 1979, in which six U.S. diplomats holed up at the Canadian ambassador’s house during the Iranian revolution. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA super-spy charged with busting the diplomats out, under the guise of shooting a Canadian science-fiction movie. At the TIFF press conference, the actor-cum-director revealed that he majored in Middle Eastern Studies (though he didn’t graduate), giving him a personal interest in the material. “I wrote a few papers on the Iranian Revolution,” Affleck said. “I’m sure they were terrible.”
Affleck was joined by writer Chris Terrio and a large swath of the film’s ensemble cast, including John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, Rory Cochrane, Tate Donovan, Scoot McNairy, Kerry Bishée and Victor Garber, who played former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor. What’s the secret to getting actors to behave believably Canadian? According to Affleck, you just have tell them “to be twice as nice” as they usually are (luckily the film only has one “eh,” revealed at the conference to be an improvisation). We’d love to say something mean about the broad, sweeping generalization that Canadians are all super-nice…but aww shucks, we just don’t have it in us.