After months of weighting options in the afterglow of the well-received crime thriller, “The Town,” it looks like Ben Affleck has finally landed his next directorial project. THR is reporting that the actor/director is in early negotiations to helm “Argo,” an adaptation of a WIRED magazine article detailing the true-life events of the Tehran hostage crisis in the early 1980s. This political thriller will be produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, the team behind the magnificent “Good Night and Good Luck” and the less impressive “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” The title of the article, “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran” indicates that the movie will contain elements of humor and satire as well. Chris Terrio wrote the screenplay and the script landed on the Blacklist last year. David Klawans (“Nacho Libre”) will also produce.
The article was written just a few years ago in 2007 by Joshuah Bearman and focuses on the well-known story of how a rescue was attempted in order to extract six U.S. diplomats after the American embassy was taken over by Iranians in 1979. The hostages were eventually released in 1981 after over a year. What makes this film more than the average political-historical thriller is that the rescue effort involved a disguise expert who turned the diplomats into members of a film crew scouting a movie titled “Argo.” Comic illustrator and legend Jack Kirby, the creator of “Captain America” as well as other impressive comics, was even used to sell Iran on the existence of the movie by designing many fake sketches.
Needless to say, the plot could have many layers, making this a great move as Affleck branches out as a director. He has been offered countless projects after the success of “The Town,” including “Replay,” Blacklist script, “American Bullshit,” a dramatic fantasy, “The Trade,” a 1970s sports flick and “Tales from the Gangster Squad,” recently taken up by Ruben Fleischer of “Zombieland” fame. There was even brief talk about Affleck for the “Superman” gig that Zack Snyder eventually landed. There’s no word yet on any possible stars, but bets are on that Clooney grabs himself a nice meaty role somewhere in there. Hopefully their producing team can rebound from the embarrassment that was “Men Who Stare at Goats” with this smart choice for a director.