Canadian who helped rescue U.S. diplomats in Iran pleased with 'Argo'
Published Thursday, October 11, 2012 9:04AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 11, 2012 9:27AM EDT
If Ken Taylor is still irritated with the way he’s portrayed in the new Hollywood thriller, “Argo,” he’s keeping mum and taking a diplomatic approach.
The former Canadian ambassador to Iran, who helped rescue six American diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, says he’s happy with the changes that director Ben Affleck made to the movie`s ending.
When “Argo” had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September, a postscript at the film’s end suggested it was CIA operatives who were the true heroes in the escape plan. The postscript’s wording even suggested Canada took the credit for political reasons, and implied that Taylor didn’t deserve the 112 citations he later received.
Taylor was reportedly insulted by those words and met with Affleck, asking for a change. Affleck agreed and the postscript now reads: “The involvement of the CIA complemented efforts of the Canadian embassy to free the six held in Tehran. To this day the story stands as an enduring model of international co-operation between governments.”
Taylor says despite all the initial hubbub about that postscript, he’s now satisfied.
“I think the postscript adds the sense and the mention that it was a joint effort,” Taylor told CTV’s Canada AM Thursday.
“Argo” details how Taylor helped keep the U.S. embassy escapees hidden during riots in Tehran until they could be whisked out of the country in a joint Canada-U.S. operation. But the film suggests it was CIA operatives who were the true heroes in the six fugitives’ escape.
While plenty have criticized the film for taking some liberties with the facts, Taylor is more philosophic, saying one must expect a little creative licence in Hollywood.
“The Canadian role (is portrayed) as a passive role. I think we played a more active role than reflected in the movie,” Taylor said, the morning after a star-studded reception at the Canadian embassy in Washington.
“But in a movie, you can only cover so much. And so within the two hours, I’m sure as reflected last night, the audience is captured by the sequence. And on top of that, it is in the spirit of truth,” Taylor said.
Both Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio have acknowledged they ramped up the tension a bit and emphasized some characters over others, but they say it was all in a bid to create a Hollywood-style, nail-biting thriller.
In that, Taylor believes they succeeded.
“The movie is a thrilling movie; it’s entertainment at its best,” Taylor said. “And even though you know the ending like the Titanic, you’re still on edge until you see the conclusion.”
"Argo" opens in theatres Friday.