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Argo

ARGO

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. OPENING CREDITS

A collage of COMIC BOOK PANELS are vomited onto the screen.

ANIMATION

Iran was once a happy and magical place filled with joy and the laughter of children, up until around 1953 when the U.S. and Great Britain put Reza Pahlavi in power, a guy who really put the "dic" in "dictator" by starving and torturing his people. When he was overthrown the U.S. had no choice but to grant this upstanding humanitarian political asylum instead of kicking his sorry ass to the curb where he would have been tried and executed. Now Iran is filled with crazy American-hating assholes known as "Iranians"

AUDIENCE

This opening is doing a real bang-up job of making us side with the Americans.

EXT. AMERICAN EMBASSY (IRAN - 1979)

A FLASH MOB of PISSED OFF IRANIANS are about to invade the embassy with their sharp menacing CARDBOARD SIGNS and a SINGLE CROW BAR which is passed around amongst the crowd IN BETWEEN SHOTS.

Luckily, the embassy gates are secured by a really expensive BIKE CHAIN.

TATE DONOVAN

Shit! The Iranians are going to break in! Shred all of our classified documents and smash all of these top secret SNES cartridges! I'll be damned if some Iranian bastard is going to play my vintage copy of Zelda!

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

But that will take hours! Are you sure that bike chain will hold?

TATE DONOVAN

Trust me, the Amazon user reviews said that chain can withstand the weight of at least 100 pissed off Iranians pushing against it!

TEN PISSED OFF IRANIANS push against the chain and it BREAKS.

TATE DONOVAN

Fucking dumbass Amazon reviews! Now our last line of defense is a marine whose sole job is not to open the front door and let all the pissed off Iranians in!

PISSED OFF IRANIANS

(ringing doorbell)

Please let us inside. We swear we won't capture and torture you. We promise to treat you right. Plus we have cookies.

MARINE

Oh well in that case.

(opens door)

PISSED OFF IRANIANS

Sucker!

The PISSED OFF IRANIANS storm the embassy and overpower ARMED MARINES by YELLING AT THEM.

TATE, SCOOT and FOUR OTHER EMPLOYEES make a run for it.

TATE DONOVAN

Let's escape out this back exit!

CAPTURED EMBASSY EMPLOYEES

Waitwaitwaitwait-- what the hell do you mean "back exit"? There was another way out besides the front door? WHY WERE WE NOT TOLD ABOUT THIS?!

TATE DONOVAN

(covering ears while escaping)

SORRY CAN'T HEAR YOU GOOD LUCK WITH THAT WHOLE BEING TAKEN HOSTAGE AND TORTURED THING!!!

The gang take a LEISURELY STROLL through the American-hating streets of Iran and go straight to Canadian Ambassador VICTOR GARBER'S HOUSE and not to a BUNCH OF OTHER PLACES first because HISTORICAL ACCURACY can go FUCK ITSELF.

INT. CIA

Professional supporting actor BRYAN CRANSTON and professional firewood stand-in BEN AFFLECK meet with their boss RICKY SCHRODER.

KYLE CHANDLER

What? No no, I'm Kyle Chandler. I'm just leasing Ricky Schroder's hairstyle for this role. Now you guys are my top idea havers so lets brainstorm a plan for getting those American refugees out.

BRYAN CRANSTON

We thought about giving them bikes to ride out of the country.

BEN AFFLECK

(stoic)

Oh that's genius. Are you going to have someone following them for 300 miles with a tire pump?

BRYAN CRANSTON

What? Have you ever seen a bike pump? It's like the size of a water bottle.

BEN AFFLECK

(ignores logic)

Your plan sucks, next.

BRYAN CRANSTON

Okay, so--

BEN AFFLECK

(stoic)

Neeeeeeext.

BRYAN CRANSTON

What if--

BEN AFFLECK

(mimes jerking off)

BRYAN CRANSTON

What the hell man, are you going to offer any ideas of your own or just nitpick ours?

BEN AFFLECK

(stoic)

See, if I just point out the flaws in your ideas, it makes me seem smarter than you. This will allow everybody to swallow all the epically batshit crazy ideas I'll have later on.

BRYAN CRANSTON

I don't suppose I'll be able to point out flaws in that plan without looking like a dick?

BEN AFFLECK

Cut!

INT. BEN AFFLECK'S HOUSE

BEN calls his son AIDAN SUSSMAN so that he can have his EUREKA MOMENT while EXPOSITIONING a subplot that NOBODY CARES ABOUT.

BEN AFFLECK

So what are you up to these days, Bil...Bob...sport?

AIDAN SUSSMAN

Well pops, I--

BEN AFFLECK

Shut up, daddy's watching apes talk.

BEN focuses intently on a PLANET OF THE APES movie, piecing together the PLOT.

BEN AFFLECK

(gears grinding away inside his brain)

Sci-fi movie... cheesy desert set... talking apes... how can I work this into the movie? Think, Affleck, think...

AIDAN SUSSMAN

Maybe you should use the absurdly improbable idea of pretending to be a film crew scouting filming locations for a B-movie in one of the most hostile and unstable regions in the world in order to get the refugees out?

BEN AFFLECK

Shut up boy! Daddy's thinking!

(pause)

(longer pause)

(even longer pause)

(lightbulb)

Of course!

EXT. HOLLYWOOD

BEN has dinner with JOHN GOODMAN in a PUBLIC RESTAURANT to discuss their HIGHLY CLASSIFIED RESCUE MISSION.

BEN AFFLECK

So how about it? You think you can teach this ragtag gang to be a film crew in one day, possibly with the aid of a Joe Esposito montage?

JOHN GOODMAN

(looking directly at Ben Affleck)

I could teach a Rhesus monkey to direct in one day. But we're going to need a well-known producer that we can trust, who's well-known, and has a heart of gold.

ALAN ARKIN appears.

ALAN ARKIN

Go fuck yourself.

BEN AFFLECK

Wait, is he playing himself, or...?

JOHN GOODMAN

No, he's actually an entirely fictional character that was created for no adequately explained reason. The real-life counterpart to my character was another make-up artist named Robert Sidell who had a laundry list of film credits, but evidently that wasn't enough for him to even get mentioned in this movie.

BEN AFFLECK

Probably because there was no one in Red State who looked like him, right Al?

ALAN ARKIN

Go fuck yourself.

JOHN GOODMAN

Right. We've decided to base our fake movie on the script of a really terrible Star Wars clone called The Phantom Menace "Argo". So how else can I contribute to this daring caper?

BEN AFFLECK

Basically all you need to do is put an ad in Variety and sit in an office for a few days.

JOHN GOODMAN

That's it? Won't that just make me look like a lazy jackass? I want to do something exciting and heroic!

BEN AFFLECK

Don't worry, you will have the all important job of saving my and the refugee's lives later by answering a phone call, but in real life, the extent of your involvement was pretty much to make our cover identities look good on paper. You okay with that, Al?

ALAN ARKIN

Go! Fuck! Yourself!

BEN AFFLECK

Stay classy, Al.

INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S HOUSE (IRAN)

BEN arrives and meets with veteran Canadian VICTOR GARBER.

VICTOR GARBER

So glad you could make it, Agent Vaughn. Are Sidney and Dixon with you to find the next Rambaldi artifact?

BEN AFFLECK

...?

VICTOR GARBER

Ugh! Does no one remember me from the hit J.J. Abrams produced TV show "Alias"?

BEN AFFLECK

Just my wife.

VICTOR GARBER

Ah, so that explains how I got this job. BTW, I think my Iranian housekeeper knows who the refugees are and could give us up at any moment.

BEN AFFLECK

I'm sure that will become a crucial plot point and was not thrown in as a way to create lame suspense, but let's pretend I didn't hear you and continue on as if your housekeeper doesn't exist.

THIS HAPPENS.

BEN meets the six REFUGEES.

TATE DONOVAN

Everybody sound off! I'm the guy who was in Love Potion No. 9!

CLEA DUVALL

I'm the one who looks vaguely like Clea Duvall!

CHRISTOPHER DENHAM

I'm the one who has rapey eyes!

RORY COCHRANE

I'm the one who has a caterpillar living on his upper lip!

KERRY BISHÉ

I'm the one who is Bizaro Leighton Meester!

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

I'm the one who looks most in need of a beating!

BEN AFFLECK

(stoic)

Okay, now that we've established your unique character traits I need you to change them into these new ones I've made up for you. Follow the instructions of my simple plan and I will save all your lives.

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

Your dull stoicism makes me not trust you! Whaa! No way am I going along with your dumb plan! It's too risky! Whaa!

BEN AFFLECK

As opposed to waiting here until the Canadians pull the hell out, whereupon you'll be captured, tortured and executed? What exactly is your objection again?

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

WHAA!!! WHAAAAA!!! WHAAAAAAA!!! WHHHHHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

BEN AFFLECK

Will somebody feed him and change his diaper, please?

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

Sorry, but I am incapable of trusting a man who risked his ass by flying halfway across the world to save me and my friends without at least knowing his real name.

BEN AFFLECK

It's Tony Mendez.

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

Huh? Despite the fact that you are quite possibly the whitest guy who has ever walked the Earth, learning your Hispanic surname that you could have just as easily made up assuages my fears. That is an odd name, though.

BEN AFFLECK

Glass houses, Scoot.

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

Why isn't your character played by a Hispanic actor, again?

BEN AFFLECK

Because the director cast me instead and that is the last we will speak of this. Now I need everyone to test their new identities out in the field so let's all pile into the Mystery Machine and drive to the nearest "Fuck America" rally.

EXT. "FUCK AMERICA" RALLY - IRAN

BEN and the REFUGEES drive right into a mob of AMERICA HATING IRANIANS.

IRANIAN GUY #1

Hey! The assholes in that van look like yanks!

TATE DONOVAN

No way! We're Canadians, eh! Hockey! Tuques! Maple Syrup!

CHRISTOPHER DENHAM

What he said! And look at how flamboyant our outfits are! This is totally the style in Ottawa right now!

IRANIAN GUY #2

He's right, I read about it in Canadian Vogue.

IRANIAN GUY #1

Okay guys let'em through!

CLEA DUVALL

Wow! I can't believe that scene actually happened to the real refugees and wasn't complete and utter bullshit made up just for cheap suspense!

BEN AFFLECK

You keep telling yourself that.

KERRY BISHÉ

Phew! That sure was a close one!

BEN AFFLECK

Unfortunately not close enough. We must now walk around a "Fuck America" flea market where all of your pictures will be inexplicably taken and sent to the evil Iranian government that wants to Joan of Arc you.

THIS HAPPENS, but not in REAL LIFE because HISTORICAL ACCURACY can SUCK A DICK.

INT. CIA

BRYAN calls BEN.

BRYAN CRANSTON

Bad news, Kyle Chandler got his period so he's calling the whole plan off and dooming the refugees to a certain and gruesome death.

BEN AFFLECK

But why?!

BRYAN CRANSTON

Because it's not exciting when things go according to plan, stupid.

BEN AFFLECK

Well I'm going through with the plan anyway! I expect everything to be in place by the time we get to the airport!

BRYAN CRANSTON

Setting aside this entire plot point is a thick stinky pile of cow patties, if just one single piece of the plan is not in place you and the refugees will be as dead as disco, you know that right?

BEN AFFLECK

Don't you tell me what I don't know!

(hangs up)

INT. IRANIAN AIRPORT

BEN and the REFUGEES arrive and their airline tickets come through just in time so clearly they didn't get them through PRICELINE.

But the group is suddenly questioned by IRANIAN SOLDIERS.

FIDEL CASTRO IMPERSONATOR

Hey... wait a minute! My American-dar is going off! You guys are fucking dead!

BEN AFFLECK

No, bro, we're a Canadian film crew trying to make a new movie aboot space, eh?

(opens Labatt Blue and eats a doughnut)

FIDEL CASTRO IMPERSONATOR

I'm still not buying it! Prove to me that you are a film crew working on a real Star Wars ripoff by providing me with detailed spoilers to said Star Wars ripoff!

SCOOT MCNAIRY

Yes! A chance to redeem my incessant bitching!

(whining in Farsi)

FIDEL CASTRO IMPERSONATOR

(petting beard)

Hmm, a Canadian filmmaker that speaks my language fluently. Nothing at all suspicious about that. Get outta here you crazy Canucks!

THE GANG gets on the airplane just as PISSED OFF IRANIANS realize who they are!

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #1

Fuck! We should stop the plane by using that telephone we just used a moment ago! Or radioing the tower to hold the flight! Or simply yelling "BOMB!" Yeah, that might actually work!

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #2

Or we can hop in my cousin's flatbed truck and chase the plane down the tarmac!

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #1

Hell yeah! I always wanted to do that!

THIS HAPPENS and the PISSED OFF IRANIANS try to outrun an AIRPLANE in a TOYOTA.

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #1

So... what's the plan here? Ram them? Shoot out the tires and kill everyone aboard? Get cooked alive by driving right behind a friggin' jet engine?

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #2

We're going to shoot it down with a rocket launcher!

(pause)

Wait, where's the rocket launcher?

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #1

I thought you had it!

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #2

FUCK! They are going to hang us for letting the Americans escape!

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #1

But at least we got to race an airplane.

PISSED OFF IRANIAN #2

You're right. Totally worth it.

BEN and the others escape on a cloud of HORSE SHIT equal to the amount of how FACTUALLY INACCURATE this scene is.

INT. AIRPLANE

BEN and SCOOT share a moment.

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

Your batshit crazy plan worked. So what now?

BEN AFFLECK

I figure we'll shoehorn in one more scene with my son, throw in some epilogue titles to try and explain away our gross historical inaccuracies, and then use the mountain of box office cash to order a custom display cabinet for my inevitable Best Director Oscar.

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

Er, yeah, about that...

BEN AFFLECK

Not that it's all about me of course! I'm just glad that I got to tell the heroic story of Tony Mendez, who single-handedly pulled off this rescue operation without any help whatsoever from anyone not named Tony Mendez and especially not Canada, who had fuck-all to do with any of this.

SCOOT MCNAIRY

You mean the country that took us in at great personal risk to its ambassadors, issued us passports, paid for our airline tickets, and gave you virtually all the logistical support you needed to pull this half-assed scheme off and would have had its ass in a sling and obliterated its diplomatic standing if this whole thing went to shit since our own government would have disavowed you? That same Canada?

BEN AFFLECK

(not listening)

I wonder if I should keep the beard for my acceptance speech. Do I look more Best Directorly with the beard? Be honest.

SCOOT MCNAIRY

(whining)

Argo fuck yourself.

ALAN ARKIN

Hey! That's my line!

DIRECTOR BEN AFFLECK sets out to make his next Oscar darling: the incredible true story of THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD starring BEN AFFLECK as HARRIET TUBMAN.

END