Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Interview: Bryan Cranston and John Goodman of “Argo”

posted by Nell Minow

In Argo, Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) plays the CIA chief who supervises Tony Mendez, the character played by director Ben Affleck.  And John Goodman plays real-life Oscar winner John Chambers, the genius in make-up and prosthetics who secretly worked with the CIA on disguises.  Mendez called Chambers for help in setting up the fake Hollywood studio they needed to create cover identities to get the six Americans hiding out in Iran back home.  A small group of journalists met with Affleck, Goodman, and Cranston to talk about the film.

What is the challenge in playing a character based on a real person, knowing that people who knew him will see the film and people who didn’t know him will think that they know what he was like based on your performance?

John Goodman: First and foremost, I had a responsibility to the character I was playing because he actually existed. He was a well-respected makeup artist, so I just felt the responsibility to not step on my foot.

Brian Cranston: My character was a composite character, and I think it was carefully crafted that way because at the time that you keep cutting back to the CIA and finding out more information and what’s happening back there, it was important to not have the audience confused for a second.  If there was numerous people that were at the CIA giving him instruction and guidance, if the audience is going, “Which guy is it? Was that the guy from the White House or is that the guy…” then, we’re in trouble, because then they’re not listening. So, we didn’t want to slow it down and so my character became the composite character.  But you know, it’s interesting. Some people will say, “Well, actors, they’re liars, right? They get up and pretend and say they’re someone else,” and the truth is that we desperately seek the truth and the honesty of a character, and we don’t feel completely comfortable until we find out how to play someone with that integrity. But yes, I think Ben and John had slightly more sense of responsibility because they’re portraying real people.

What do you think was going on inside the minds of these men as they went through these extraordinary challenges?

Bryan Cranston: Well, I had the good fortune of coming to Langley, Virginia early on before we started shooting and I sat down with a few CIA officers of varying degrees of experience.  I wanted to get sort of a baseline of who these people are, and get a sense of the culture that they live in, and I guess what I came away with is that it’s not dissimilar from any other corporate structure.  They’re still complaining about the boss and his crappy idea, and “that’s not going to work,” and there’s stale coffee in the break room and there’s all these kinds of things that they have to deal with. I think at first they were a little reticent to open up to a stranger.  At first they would say, “There are several things we can’t talk about, you know, mission wise.”  And I go, “I’m actually more interested in what your personal life is like and what sacrifices that were made with your spouses, what were you able to tell your children? How did it affect you? Your relationships? Do you guys drink? Did you go to a certain place to associate with other officers?” And there’s very much a club, in fact, one of the things that I found interesting was that a lot of them will socialize within and marry within, so that one guy was married to a CIA officer and their daughter was a CIA officer, and so it’s the family business. What I thought, going in, was “This is going to be completely different from anything that I have ever known” but it became sort of familiar to me. I just wanted to craft this man being a dedicated servant, truly believing in the value of the CIA and what he’s providing for it. I had a sense that, if this worked, this would be Jack’s last mission, that I’m going, “it’s not going to be any better than this, so I’m going to get debriefed and walk away.”

John Goodman: It’s like the idea of a man who manufactures disguises, disguising a part of his life and hiding in plain sight and serving his countries with the tools of his trade.

 



Previous Posts

Uptown Funk from A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School and Teacher Scot Pankey
High school teacher Scot Pankey brings the funk to the entire school in this joyous dubstep video. I love its spirit and its inclusiveness; everyone is just there to have fun. It has become a viral sensation, tweeted by Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and the guy who sings "Uptown Funk," Bruno Mars.

posted 9:36:59am Feb. 01, 2015 | read full post »

New Web Series: That's Racist! with Mike Epps
I'm a big fan of Mike Epps, and am excited about "That's Racist!," his new web series on AOL. It is a provocative look at racism and stereotypes. Are Asians bad drivers? Are Jews cheap? Do African-Americans all like fried chicken? These and other stereotypes are explored by experts and people ins

posted 8:00:40am Feb. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Three Views on the Challenges Women Face in the Film Industry
It is wonderful that directors like Ava DuVernay, Angelina Jolie, and Gina Prince-Bythewood gave us superb films in 2014.  But it is an indicator of the challenges still faced by women filmmakers that none of them was nominated for a major directing award. The Alliance of Women Film Journalists

posted 3:38:46pm Jan. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Snickers Wins the Super Bowl!
The real competition at the Super Bowl is for the commercials, right? This Snickers ad is a hoot. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rqbomTIWCZ8?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:02am Jan. 31, 2015 | read full post »

How Did Ca Plane Pour Moi End Up in So Many Movies?
How did a 1977 song in French by the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand become a go-to for 21st century American movie soundtracks, from big studio films to quirky indies? "Ça Plane Pour Moi" has appeared in Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" and last week's "We'll Never Have Paris," from

posted 3:40:03pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.