Page 55 - Foreign Service Journal - October, 2012b

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increase the pressure under which Mendez was
seen to be working. Cora and I suggested other
ways this could be done, but I don’t think our
input had any impact. And, for a time, I again
felt foolish for ever thinking actual history would
matter to Hollywood types.
Consolation Prize
Last fall we were invited to Los Angeles to
watch some shooting. We visited imposing sets
and met the actors playing us, several of whom
bore an uncanny resemblance to the originals.
We also had lunch with Ben Afeck, who struck
me as genuinely interested in telling the story the
right way.
But I also came to see that for Afeck, truth
was less about facts than about atmosphere.
And I fnally understood why the questions I had gotten during
production usually pertained to details like the layout of the
buildings and the signs on ofce doors, or what we
were thinking or feeling at certain times.
Another producer explained that the Shear-
downs were excluded because including them
would have required a longer flm, another set
and two more actors. So they decided to house
our group with Amb. Taylor, since he was already a
necessary character.
While regrettable, that explanation makes sense
to me. Ultimately, I accepted that it was unrea-
sonable to expect a “dramatization based on true
events” to substitute for history, even though I
expect that for many viewers, it will do exactly that.
As a sort of consolation prize, Cora and I were
interviewed for the DVD bonus features, during
which we once again stressed the crucial role of
the Canadians. We hope the Sheardowns and
their compatriots will receive their due there, at least, if not in
This poster for the fake
movie “Argo” was created
by the CIA in 1980. The
flm and its Studio Six
production company were
part of the elaborate back-
story used in the rescue.