Interview: Ben Affleck
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Ben Affleck directed and stars in Argo, a spy thriller based on the true story of the 1979 hostage crisis in Tehran. The film depicts the escape from Iran of six American Embassy workers after the building was stormed by students and militants in support of the Iranian Revolution. The events that followed were stranger than fiction, and remained a State Secret until they were declassified by Bill Clinton in 1997. Argo is set for release on Wednesday. Here, Affleck discusses the film. What is it like to juggle acting, directing and producing? It is interesting. It's different, you know? Although I have to say, because I've been an actor for a while, I'm really used to being on a set, acting in front of the camera. So that doesn't feel like extra work, you know what I mean? It feels like the normal investment you have. The problem is that the time you take to think about your performance and what you're going to do just takes away from the amount of time you have to think about what you're going to do as a director. So, the big problem is just those two jobs fighting over time, and you only have a limited amount because, as they say, time is money. Sometimes you're sort of peripherally aware of stuff that's going on when you're acting in a scene. And, a lot of actors, I think - acting, directing, it's about taste. Feeling as though the scene is working, or the scene isn't working, or liking what's going on with the extras. And a lot of actors will have the instincts about that, so it's not uncommon to have those kinds of sensory perceptions while you're working on a movie. It's just that you have to sort of learn to cultivate them. You have to really learn to listen, and then I just do it a bunch. And then go over to the monitor and say, sort of, "Did anybody notice anything weird?" How did you cast the hostages?
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