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Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

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Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by watching on Sat Feb 23 2013, 10:37

Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran, as "Totally Taken Over by Americans"


It's a little late to hurt Argo's Oscar chances at this point, but Ken Taylor doesn't intend to let the Ben Affleck-directed film win Best Picture in peace this Sunday.

Pinpointing historical inaccuracies in this year's crop of Oscar nominees has been quite the sport these days, be it the wrong senator voting against the 13th Amendment in Lincoln or the major uproar from Washington, D.C., over the torture depicted in Zero Dark Thirty.

And, albeit somewhat more quietly and politely, Taylor—the former Canadian ambassador to Iran played by Victor Garber in the film—has been banging the drum for what he perceived to be a huge slight toward his role (and his country's) in the rescue of six Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.

"In the movie, Canada and Ottawa didn't exist," Taylor told the New York Times' Carpetbagger blog. "It's a great film, it's great. But at the same time, it was a Canadian story that's been, all of sudden, totally taken over by the Americans. Totally."

"I don't want to be hard on Tony Mendez," he added, referencing the CIA agent played by Affleck who led the covert op. "I want to give him all the credit I can. But at the same time, I'm a Canadian, and enough is enough."

Taylor also told the Associated Press today that it would be "a further reflection" on Affleck if Argo wins Best Picture and he fails to thank the Canadians who played such a huge role in the real-life version of events.

Jimmy Carter, who was president of the United States at the time, said on Piers Morgan Tonight yesterday that, while he was hoping for a big night for Argo at the Oscars, "Ben Affleck's character in the film...was only in—stayed in—Iran a day and a half. And the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process."

Taylor, who says he was not invited to Argo's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year, said during a talk at Toronto's Ryerson University on Feb. 14 that, "after I saw the movie, I decided that I did bring one particular skill to this movie, that was opening and closing a door.

"We could go on, but the amusing side is the script writer in Hollywood had no idea what he's talking about."

Don't miss Ben Affleck's first short film—it's "atrocious!"

The 78-year-old Taylor did attend a special screening of Argo in L.A. and was interviewed for the bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray, which came out Tuesday, and he says he was able to address the issues he had regarding Argo's depiction of the Iranian people and other discrepancies he perceived.

With only a few nights to go till the Oscars and with SAG, DGA, PGA and Golden Globe Awards under his belt (to name a few) so far, Affleck wrote to the Carbetbagger that he's "surprised to hear that Ken still has issues about the film, as the last time we had contact was a few weeks ago when Ken asked me to narrate a documentary about the Iran hostage crisis that he is prominently featured in."

"There would be a very compelling film that is primarily about the heroism of ambassador Taylor before Tony Mendez even hears about the crisis—and, in fact, that film already exists (1981's Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper—starring Gordon Pinsent)," Affleck added. "We weren't interested in remaking that film."

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by party animal - not! on Sat Feb 23 2013, 10:57

Nicely handled, Mr Affleck........

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by theminis on Sat Feb 23 2013, 11:26

Yep I agree - also there are many films made based on actual events where dramatical licence has been taken to enhance the film in some way, its not always a bad thing IMO.

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by Katiedot on Sat Feb 23 2013, 12:50

Well, there's dramatic licence and then there's completely inventing a story.

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by theminis on Sat Feb 23 2013, 13:02

True - and in the land of Hollywood, invention is the key ingredient.

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by OofOof on Sat Feb 23 2013, 17:14

As a U S citizen I can tell you this happens to my Canadian neighbors all the time. Poetic license is one thing; reinventing facts about which the entire show is based is another and, sadly, very American.

We do it all the time and it's embarrassing. On 911 Canada was amazing. Thousands of people ended up in Canada when our airports and air ways were shut down. Canadiens in small towns took strangers into their homes. And yet, when President Bush and others talked about that period, they never mentioned Canada's role...until they were called out on it.

I have to disagree that it's no big deal and the Ambassador should move on. It's a movie based on a real event. Poetic license is portraying Mendez as being separated from his wife when he wasn't. It's not completely re-writing history, so that Hollywood and the CIA are heroes while the Canadians are portrayed as hapless fellows who mean well and helped out.

The same poetic license was used in Lincoln, which makes absolutely no sense. They wanted more drama around who voted for the 13th amendment so in the movie, Connecticut votes no...except in reality, they voted yes. Poetic license is writing conversations between Mary and Lincoln, not re-writing history!

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by Mazy on Sat Feb 23 2013, 18:50

I am not a big movie buff or anything, George is the only celebritiy that I am intersted in hearing about. So I don't know much about the movie business. However I thought a movie based on true events could be fictionalyized and a documentry is completely fact. Is this anything like it should be.

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

Post by melbert on Sat Feb 23 2013, 18:59

Mazy, I think you described it perfectly.

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Re: Argo Slammed by Ken Taylor, Ex-Canadian Ambassador to Iran

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