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Book Vs Movie Podcast

Jun 25, 2021

Book Vs Movie: “Argo”

The 2007 Wired Article Vs the 2012 Movie Adaptation 


The Margos are on an adventure for this episode that is based on a true story--Argo. The 2007 Wired magazine article (“The Great Escape: How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to RescueAmericans From Tehran”) by writer Joshua Bearman is thrilling as it talks about what is known as the “Canadian Caper” in 1979. After the siege of the U.S. Embassy in Iran, several American embassy personnel hid in a Canadian diplomat’s home. 

The “caper” part is when CIA officer Tony Mendez (who wrote his own account in the book “The Master of Disguise” as Antonio J. Mendez) created a fake film crew for a movie called “Argo” and with the help of Canadian passports and some clever improvising, rescued those people on January 27, 1980. 

Part of the project's success was creating a phony Hollywood company “Studio Six Productions” and makeup artists John Chambers and Robert Sidell helped create the faux publicity campaign with ads in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety magazines. Chambers was later awarded the CIA “Intelligence Medal of Merit” for his help in the rescue. 


The Ben Affleck-directed uses many of the true elements of the film and adds a few select Hollywood flourishes (like casting himself as the lead) and a kickass rock soundtrack to make a thrilling ride of a film. 

Soon after its release, several articles were talking about some of the most glaring omissions in the story, including the role of the Canadian embassy in the rescue. The film was nominated for several prestigious awards including Best Picture for the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. 

The cast is stellar with Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, and an uncredited Philip Baker Hall as CIA Director Stansfield Turner.

So, between the Wired article and the movie--which did we prefer? Have a listen and find out! 

In this ep the Margos discuss:

  • The backstory of the Iran Hostage situation and the Canadian Caper
  • Major differences between the actual events and the Hollywood version of what happened
  • What President Jimmy Carter thinks about the movie 
  • The cast: Ben Affleck (Tony Mendez,) Bryan Cranston (Jack O’ Donnell,) Alan Arkin (Lester Siegel,) John Goodman (John Chambers,) Tate Donovan (Robert Anders,) Clea DuVall (Cora Amber-Lijek,) Rory Cochrane (Lee Schatz,) Victor Garber (Ken Taylor,) Kyle Chandler (Hamilton Jordan,) and Richard Kind as Max Klein. 

Clips used:

  • Argo wins Best Picture (with Michelle Obama & Jack Nicholson
  • Argo trailer
  • Alan Arkin deals with “Max Klein” 
  • John Chambers answers the production office phone
  • Ending chase scene
  • Argo score by Alexandre Desplat

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