Iran to Tell Its Own Side of 'Argo' Story in New Movie (Report)

2:02 PM PST 01/11/2013 by Alex Ben Block

The Iranian government, which has condemned Ben Affleck's film, is financing a film about the events surrounding the rescue of a group of American diplomats during the 1979 hostage crisis.

Argo, which was named the best movie of the year Thursday by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, with Ben Affleck honored as best director, is going to be the subject of a remake from a very different point of view.

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The Iranian government is mounting its own movie version of the events surrounding the rescue of a group of American diplomats during the 1979 hostage crisis, which it plans to call The General Staff.

According to a report in the The New York Times, the movie will be directed by Ataollah Salmanian, who is described as a minor figure in the Iran movie industry.

When it was released in October, Argo was condemned by Iran as being anti-Iranian. Some in Iran, according to the article, accused Affleck of “promoting ‘Islamophobia.’”

Argo this week was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including one for best picture. Made on a budget of about $44 million, the Warner Bros. release has grossed more than $170 million worldwide (of which $110 million is from North American). 

Salmanian is quoted from the semi-official Mehr news agency in Iran as saying his movie will be a big project by Iranian standards: “This film, which will be a huge production, should be an appropriate answer to the film Argo, which lacks a proper view of historical events.”

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The Tehran Times newspaper reported that Salmanian has written the screenplay for The General Staff, which will be financed by the Art Bureau of the Iranian government.

On IMDb, Salmanian is listed as a second-unit director, assistant director and actor. There are three credits dating back at least 12 years. They are Shena dar Zemestran (as assistant director, 1990), Bagh-e seyyed (as assistant director, 1989) and Dar jostejuye ghahraman (as an actor, 1987).

There was no immediate response to a request for comment from Affleck, made through his publicist.

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