Ben Affleck for ‘Argo’

Eye on the Oscars: The Director

Bona fide movie star. Oscar-winning scripter. Ben Affleck went on to score the hat trick when he entered the directing ranks with “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.” Now the blockbuster crowd pleaser “Argo” has catapulted him to the top tier of that profession. The 1979-set political thriller represents a risky mix of genres, careening as it does between raucous Hollywood satire, clock-ticking urgency in Washington and pulse-racing suspense on Tehran streets.

“I was concerned that I needed to keep the line really taut, the fish on a hook thing,” he says, while giving the comedy in Craig Terrio’s screenplay room to breathe. Affleck also made it a priority to represent the students responsible for the hostage taking with humanity and balance. “I didn’t want them just to seem like bearded maniacs. They may have been doing maniacal things, immoral things, criminal things. But it was important to see why this was happening: the psychological and emotional roots of this event.”

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