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"Argo" Director Ben Affleck Lobbied Himself for Leading Role

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Ben Affleck's new drama Argo is based on the strange-but-true 1979 CIA operation to rescue from Iran six Americans who'd escaped the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before Islamic radicals took 52 hostages there.

Under the guise of making a sci-fi film called Argo, a CIA extraction specialist played by Affleck eventually smuggles himself into the country to smuggle them out. 

Affleck also directed the project and describes the film by saying, "You have this thriller, and in equal measure this kind of comic Hollywood satire, and this...really intricate CIA spy story."

The actor joked that because he wanted to star in the film as CIA agent Tony Mendez, he had to get on the director's good side.

"[T]he actor part of my brain...asked the director of [this] movie for a job, and the director was sort of in a tough spot, and had to say yes," Affleck said.

Argo, which also stars Alan Arkin, John Goodman, and Stanley Tucci, opens Friday.

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