So he shot in Turkey and Los Angeles instead, where he sometimes found it difficult to cast expatriated Iranians to play the revolutionaries who overtook the American Embassy at the film's opening.
In this excerpt from the Envelope Screening Series, Affleck, who directed, produced and stars in the drama about the rescue of six Americans in the middle of the hostage crisis, talks about truth and fiction.
While he wanted to be faithful to history and accuracy, Affleck was concerned that "there's a point where you can become so fastidious about that that you actually do yourself a disservice."
But the production was nearly stymied when it sought to find enough extras to storm the embassy gates. Shooting during the day when most young Turkish people are in school and middle-aged residents are working, he found that about the only people available to appear in the film are "retirees," Affleck said. Look closely at the footage, he said, and you'll see more than a few older faces.
But as cameras rolled, his elderly extras quickly got into the spirit of the task at hand and even if they moved a little slower were nonetheless up to the revolutionary challenge.
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