Pic preemed at the Academy in Bev Hills

Star and helmer Ben Affleck was full of gratitude at Thursday’s preem of Warner Bros.’ “Argo,” but saved his biggest thanks for Tony Mendez.

After all, it was the CIA agent who cooked up the scheme of having six imprisoned U.S. escape the American Embassy in Iran in 1980 by having them pose as a Canadian production team scouting for a sci-fi movie.

“A hero puts others above himself,” Affleck said of Mendez before the screening at the Academy in Bev Hills. “He’s a hero and he even let me play him.”

Affleck also gave extensive thanks to screenwriter Chris Terrio, who afterwards took time poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel to reveal, “I was about 3 when it happened, but Ben and I discovered that we both had the same ‘Star Wars’ bedsheets, so that’s why Ben’s son in the film has them.”

Pic’s CIA scenes were filmed in the basement of the Los Angeles Times. “No windows, 14-hour days,” Bryan Cranston noted.

Asked if he’d ever portrayed a CIA agent, Cranston put on his most serious face to reply, “I can’t divulge that information.”

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