Based on the May 2007 "Wired" magazine article entitled "The Great Escape" by Joshuah Bearman; and chapter nine of the book entitled "The Master of Disguise" by Antonio Mendez.
BEGINNING LOGO The familiar logo WARNER BROS. PRESENTS COMES UP. After a beat, it is consumed by FIRE. It becomes AN AMERICAN FLAG, BURNING in the street.
1 EXT. U.S. EMBASSY (TEHRAN) - MORNING 1
Effigies of Jimmy Carter and the deposed Shah -- crowds chanting Magbar Carter! Magbar Ahmrika! Fists in the air.
SUPERIMPOSE: TEHRAN - NOVEMBER 4, 1979 YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN -- about 2/3 men and 1/3 women, some with flak jackets; about half the young women wear full chador. Many wear plastic bibs with photographs of Ayatollah Khomeini. PASTED TO ROOSEVELT GATE: photographs of STUDENTS who were killed under the deposed Shah of Iran's regime. Signs in English: U.S.A. RETURN THE SHAH -- JUSTICE FOR MURDER. A few IRANIAN POLICE attend -- more as bystanders than peacekeepers. A MAN frantically stabs an EFFIGY of the SHAH. An IRANIAN STUDENT films the scene with a Super 8 camera.
2 EXT. EMBASSY GROUNDS - MORNING 2
From INSIDE THE EMBASSY GATES we can hear the noise of the protest. There are three primary buildings on campus: the CHANCERY, the embassy's main building, THE AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE, and the CONSULATE. We can see that the compound is securitized: sand-filled traps and steel bars on the windows of the consulate.
3 INT. U.S. EMBASSY - CONSULATE OFFICE - MORNING 3
Now, we see the POV THROUGH those steel bars. Standing on a chair looking at the protest outside the gate, is BOB ANDERS, late 40s-50s, a consular officer.
ARGO - Final 2.
3 CONTINUED: 3
BOB ANDERS Carnival's bigger today. MARK LIJEK, 29, a consular officer, joins Anders at the window.
4 EXT. ROOSEVELT GATE - MORNING 4
Then, in a famous piece of archive footage, something simple happens. A YOUNG MAN IN A SWEATER climbs the gate and makes it to the other side. And now, we see the REVERSE of that famous shot. This isn't archive footage anymore. We're looking at the POV of TOM AHERN, 48, the CIA station chief here.
5 INT. MARINE GUARD POST - MORNING 5
From a pillbox on the embassy campus, SGT. ROCKY SICKMANN, a young MARINE, can also see the protestors break across the lawn.
MARINE SGT. SICKMANN (into his radio) ... Fort Apache is breached -- please advise --
6 EXT. ROOSEVELT GATE - MORNING 6
The PROTEST in front of the gate is getting rowdier -- its energy and numbers swelling. A group of STUDENTS -- these more brisk, organized, all bearded and dressed in flak jackets -- push their way to the front of the protest -- WOMEN raise a banner. It's a signal. As if on cue, the IRANIAN POLICE move from the gates. A WOMAN removes a large pair of bolt cutters from underneath her chador -- hands them to a BEARDED STUDENT -- who gets to work on the CHAINS holding the gate
CLOSED -- When one YOUNG MAN wearing a green military field jacket raises his fist, we can see that he has a concealed PISTOL in his clothes. More STUDENTS climbing the wall -- dropping the 12 feet to the other side, one after another.
ARGO - Final 3.
7 INT. MARINE GUARD POST - MORNING 7
MARINE SGT. SICKMANN
THEY'RE COMING OVER THE WALLS --
8 EXT. ROOSEVELT GATE - MORNING 8
But a moment later no more climbing is required, because the GATE CHAIN IS CUT and protestors FLOOD through the embassy gates, a human dam breaking --
9 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE - MORNING 9
Mounting chaos in here, the nerve center of the embassy. Everyone on a different phone. It's like an emergency room where the patient is the whole building. ANN SWIFT, 31, Deputy Political Officer, has the phone by her ear -- trying to hear reports from D.C.
ANN SWIFT There are hundreds of people out
(LOOKS OUT) No, thousands... There are
10 IN THE CONSULATE OFFICE - MORNING 10 Mark Lijek and Bob Anders look out windows, nervous, but not like the Iranian VISA APPLICANTS who are close to panic.
BOB ANDERS Are these supposed to be bulletproof?
MARK LIJEK Well, they've never been tested.
11 INT. CHANCERY (MARINE POST ONE) - MORNING 11
Six MARINES watch images from closed-circuit television cameras on chunky 1970's monitors. Crowds of protestors from every part of the embassy campus. AL GOLACINSKI, 30, chief of security for the embassy, shouts into a radio.
ARGO - Final 4.
11 CONTINUED: 11
AL GOLACINSKI Marines to Number One -- FALL
12 EXT. CHANCERY - MORNING 12
PROTESTORS come running, turning the corner to reach the building. They use bats and crowbars to smash the windows of the building.
13 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE - MORNING 13
BOB ANDERS (on the phone) Can we get some fucking police please?
14 INT. MARINE POST ONE - MORNING 14
One by one, the security monitors are going black -- or smashed. The Marines stare.
15 EXT. TALEGHANI AVE. - MORNING 15
An IRANIAN POLICE CAPTAIN smokes a cigarette, watching the mayhem, impassive.
16 INT. MARINE POST ONE - MORNING 16
MARINES are putting on armor, gas masks, riot gear. AL GOLACINSKI gs down the line reminding them of protocol.
AL GOLACINSKI Don't shoot. You don't want to be the sonofabitch who started a war -
AL GOLACINSKI They need an hour to burn the classified -- Hold. (beat, stern) You shoot one person, they'll kill every one of us in here.
17 EXT. CONSULATE - MORNING 17
PROTESTORS, now on the embassy grounds, carry banners.
ARGO - Final 5.
17 CONTINUED: 17
PROTESTORS La ilaha ilallah -- A WOMAN IN A CHADOR uses her own radio. Some of them ring around the building, holding hands and chanting. Some carry AUTOMATIC WEAPONS openly.
18 INT. MARINE POST ONE - MORNING 18
(INTO WALKIE) Tear gas as last resort ONLY -- I repeat, only if your life is under threat!
19 INT. HALLWAY - MORNING 19
Gallegos and Sickmann hear Golacinski's admonition, but PUMP TEAR GAS out a window onto protestors below despite it. One cannister after another.
20 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE - MORNING 20
Now the five in the consulate are joined by LEE SCHATZ, 32, an agricultural attache.
J STAFFORD -- We're not going out in this --
(INTERRUPTING) We are in the only building with an exit direct to the street. We need to GO -- The SOUNDS OF MARINES barking at one another over the radio.
21 OMITTED 21
22 INT. HALLWAY - MORNING 22
They look out a small WINDOW to see a MOB outside.
AL GOLACINSKI I'm going outside.
ARGO - Final 6.
22 CONTINUED: 22
AL GOLACINSKI To reason with them. Marines open the Chancery door, with a look --
23 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE - MORNING 23
FRED KUPKE, 34, communications officer, is shouting at staffers who pile up documents for the shredders --
KUPKE Just everything. Don't sort it --
ANN SWIFT (on the phone) -- NONE, there are no police --
24 EXT. CHANCERY - MORNING 24
Al Golacinski steps out onto the steps and immediately there is shouting, and a protestor puts a GUN to his head -- blindfolds him -- PUSHING AL'S head to the ground...
25 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE - MORNING 25
CORA LIJEK -- Second floor -- anyone who can hear this -- we need help -- As we MOVE DOWN the line of desks, J STAFFORD is also on a radio repeating the same in FARSI -- Others PACK things.
26 INT. THE HALLWAY - INTO THE VAULT - MORNING 26
MARINES and STAFFERS -- including TOM AHERN -- RUN down the hall, pushing a cart of items to secure. They reach the security locker -- code the door -- and enter the locker, heading to the INCINERATOR to begin destroying classified material --
27 EXT. CHANCERY - MORNING 27
Golacinski HELD UP TO THE DOOR -- GUN TO HIS HEAD. He starts to panic.
ARGO - Final 7.
27 CONTINUED: 27
AL GOLACINSKI Let me in! Jesus Christ! Open the fucking door! The Marines OPEN THE CHANCERY DOOR -- PROTESTERS POUR IN.
27A INT. CHANCERY OFFICE - MORNING 27A
ANN SWIFT -- Washington on flash -- Get Ops -- get a line -- We hear -- The POUNDING of footsteps on the roof. They look up.
28 EXT. CONSULATE ROOF - MORNING 28
Protestors RUNNING on the roof of the consulate building. Several stop to try and RIP off a vent cover using CLUBS and PIPES.
29 EXT. EMBASSY GROUNDS - MORNING 29
THOUSANDS are now on the grounds of the embassy and they continue to swarm through the gates. The student with the SUPER 8 continues to film it all. Also filming, a NEWS PHOTOGRAPHER with a 16 mm camera. Smoking cannisters of TEAR GAS, people hurling them. A protestor lights a paper on fire to ward off the sting of the gas --
30 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE - MORNING 30
STAFFERS using pieces of machines to destroy other machines -- any embassy equipment that might function -- Then... screams. The lights have gone out. The power has been cut.
31 IN THE VAULT - MORNING 31 AHERN destroys the cryptography keys -- box-sized hard drives -- while BILL DAUGHERTY, 33, tosses stacks of papers into an electrical furnace.
ARGO - Final 8.
31 CONTINUED: 31
BILL DAUGHERTY Well, Tom. You wanted to see the world... The furnace makes a LOUD CHUNK and stops. They both hold their looks for a beat.
BILL DAUGHERTY Are you kidding me?
AHERN Get the shredder.
32 INT. CHANCERY STAIRWELL LEADING TO 2ND FLOOR - MORNING 32
BROTHER ALI, 20s, one of the student leaders, shouts as he holds a cloth near his face to protect from tear gas.
33 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE - MORNING 33
The mood is now frantic -- people destroying things or shouting everywhere --
ANN SWIFT No... Hal -- yes -- INSIDE the building, IN --
34 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE - MORNING 34
Bob Anders SMASHES AMERICAN VISA PLATES. The visa-applicant Iranians are now huddled in a group. A couple of the women are wailing. Improv resuming the debate over leaving. Lijek on his walkie, but every channel is now speaking
MARK LIJEK Nobody is coming. We need to go.
35 OMITTED 35
36 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE - MORNING 36
Mark gestures for the other six staffers -- and the twenty IRANIAN VISA SEEKERS in the office -- to head to the stairwell.
ARGO - Final 9.
36 CONTINUED: 36
BOB ANDERS Iranians first. (as no one moves) Go! Now!
37 INT. CHANCERY - HALLWAY - MORNING 37
One STUDENT emerges with a large portrait of KHOMEINI that had been used for dart practice.
(SCREAMING) Who has made this!!! Two EMBASSY EMPLOYEES look at the floor.
38 INT. CONSULATE STAIRWELL - MORNING 38
The twenty VISA-SEEKING IRANIANS pass our guys and run down the stairs out onto the street and disperse outside. Behind them, the FIVE CONSULATE EMPLOYEES we saw head down the stairs. So the group of SIX is: MARK AND CORA LIJEK, J AND KATHY STAFFORD, and BOB ANDERS. They get to the bottom of the stairs.
39 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE - MORNING 39
The students, guns drawn, burst into the Chancery Office, shouting at Ann Swift and the others. The mood among the staffers is now almost peaceful.
ANN SWIFT (into the phone) It's done. They're in. She puts down the phone.
40 EXT. BIST METRI STREET - MORNING 40
The It's quiet -- the sound of the protest on the other side of the roof and the embassy campus is distant. Just the empty street. On the ground: discarded banners from the protest, fliers and newspapers. We see something that looks like BLOOD on the street.
ARGO - Final 10.
40 CONTINUED: 40 They walk west. They're hurrying but taking care not to run. The five can hear the gunfire and shouting in Farsi. They walk up the street, away from the sounds of the protest, instinctively grouping together. Cora looks back.
BOB ANDERS Keep going.
41-45 OMITTED 41-45
46 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT HALL - SEVENTH FLOOR - NIGHT 46
Halfway around the world, hell has broken loose here, too. BATES and MALICK, 30s, State Department mid-level aides. A cascade of voices and energy -- a reverberation from the embassy siege -- the building exploding into a crisis center.
BATES MALICK These fucks can hit us, we Mossadeq. We did it to can't hit back? them first.
BATES You think the Russians would put up with this? They'd fucking
INVADE -- ROBERT PENDER, 40s, joins them heading down the hall. They've all gotten the same call to get to the Secretary's office. PETER GENCO, late 20s, behind.
MALICK PENDER What did you expect? We (turning behind him) helped a guy torture and de- Schafer! Schafer! ball an entire population --
BRICE At least 60. Could be a hundred.
GENCO (catching up to them) You still haven't found Schafer?
(TO GENCO) No, I was screaming his name ˜cause I was fucking him. HAL SAUNDERS, late 40s, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, perpetually stressed, coming out of his office, out of breath --
ARGO - Final 11.
46 CONTINUED: 46
SAUNDERS Six got out!
47 OMITTED 47
47A INT. SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE - NIGHT 47A
STAPLED PAGES with PHOTOGRAPHS. In the hands of SECRETARY OF STATE CYRUS VANCE, 62, a former Navy man who is used to telling important people what to do. EVERYONE FROM THE PREVIOUS HALLWAY SCENE is here in attendance as well.
VANCE I was told five.
BATES Apparently it's six now.
VANCE What happened?
PENDER Not clear. We know they escaped the embassy.
VANCE Where are they?
SAUNDERS The Canadian Ambassador's house.
BATES Are we attempting rescue?
BRICE Hold for the Secretary --
PHONE) -- there's no one -- this is he... (to an aide) Can we get Ottawa patched? Five phones and none of them work. Coming back -- on phone --
VANCE Is White House joining?
ARGO - Final 12.
48 INT. WHITE HOUSE - WEST WING - NIGHT 48
HAMILTON JORDAN, 40s, Carter's White House Chief of Staff, comes up stairs, trailed by AIDES. Jordan is forty, Southern.
BUTLER (O.S.) They're claiming the embassy was a ˜den of -- ˜
JORDAN We wish it was the fucking Den of Espionage. C.I. had three people there, didn't see a revolution coming? I'd call that something other than intelligence --
49 INT. CHIEF OF STAFF'S OFFICE - NIGHT 49
There are already maps of Iran on easels in here. The big three plus foreign networks on silent televisions. LANDON BUTLER, 30s, Jordan's Deputy Chief of Staff, is on the phone.
SECRETARY (into a phone) Hold for the Chief of Staff -- (holds out the phone
JORDAN BUTLER (to Secretary) They're sticking to it. No I'll call him back. release till we expel the shah. Jordan sinks into his chair, putting his feet up on the desk. JON TITTERTON, 30s, an aide to Jordan --
TITTERTON Put him on a plane. Fuck him.
JORDAN He's half dead and he's in chemo.
BUTLER We took him in. He's ours now.
TITTERTON So we'll take in any prick as long as he's got cancer?
ARGO - Final 13.
49 CONTINUED: 49
JORDAN No. Just the pricks on our side. So all our other pricks on their prick thrones know, when they get run out on a rail, they won't be getting their spleens out by a camel vet in the Sinai.
TITTERTON The six with the Canadians. Now Jordan is looking at a monitor showing footage of a BLINDFOLDED HOSTAGE in front of the Embassy. AL GOLACINSKI being prodded and led down the front stairs of the embassy.
JORDAN We've got 60 in the embassy with guns to their heads right now --
TITTERTON The eyes of the world are on the embassy. That makes them safer than the six on the street.
ANALYST (coming to the door) Bani-Sadr's saying it'll be over in 24 hours.
JORDAN Leave the six where they are. I'll go brief the president.
CUT TO BLACK.
49A EXT. OLD DOMINION DRIVE (VIRGINIA) - AFTERNOON 49A
A LONE ribbon sags in the f.g. -- the CAPITOL BUILDING behind. Yellow ribbons tied to lampposts. A Catholic church with a sign on the lawn that says PRAY FOR OUR HOSTAGES. A dry cleaner with a large American flag in the window and yellow ribbons drawn by kids around it. The exterior of a neighborhood bar, O'Tooles. More ribbons. SUPERIMPOSE: McLEAN, VIRGINIA - 69 DAYS LATER
ARGO - Final 14.
49B INT. MENDEZ APARTMENT - BEFORE DAWN 49B
A television connected to a faraway wall with an extension cord sits on a coffee table. The t.v. shows color test patterns. We move over the coffee table, a mess of Chinese food containers and beer bottles, to find TONY MENDEZ, 40, asleep in his clothes from the day before. The phone rings. He answers it, half awake.
MENDEZ Yeah. He listens for a moment, then sits up, suddenly wide- awake.
50 EXT. CANAL ROAD - MORNING 50
Mendez's car speeds by yellow ribbons along trees on Canal Road.
51 EXT. CIA - PARKING LOT - EARLY MORNING 51
Mendez gets out of his car and hurries toward a white building that looks like a college campus.
NEWSCASTER (V.O.) Prime Minister Bani-Sadr today re- stated demands for the hostages' release...
52 INT. CIA DIRECTORATE OF OPERATIONS - MORNING 52
As we watch him hurry out of his car and into the CIA, we start to pick up TVs as we go by them -- all tuned to some version of the same story. He enters the front doors and crosses the famous EMBLEM on the ground. He moves past the STARS ON THE WALL, signifying fallen CIA officers (and there were fewer stars then than now). He passes the SECURITY GUARD at the desk, holds up his badge. The guard nods.
ARGO - Final 15.
52 CONTINUED: 52 A young Tom Brokaw in a yellow, sleeveless sweater and teal tie plays on the television, intoning on the Today Show. ANGELA BELK, young wife of hostage WILLIAM BELK, has a soft Southern voice and fights back tears. ( ABC,
BROKAW (V.O.) ANGELA BELK (V.O.) Week ten of a hostage I'm so afraid that I won't crisis that seems without see him again. That he end. A glimmer of hope won't get out from over after the release of some there, because everything -- women and Afro-Americans it seems like everything but little activity in the they're trying to do is weeks since, and the images just backfiring, it's not of bound Americans under working -- armed guard have many losing hope -- Under these images we hear an undulating drone -- the constant accompaniment of life then -- coverage of the hostage crisis.
PRESIDENT CARTER (V.O.) The United States shall not purchase oil from Iran. Iranian assets shall be frozen and the U.S. shall engage in a forceful campaign of international diplomacy against the Iranians...
MENDEZ (V.O.) Ten weeks State's sitting on this?
53-55 OMITTED 53-55
56 INT. D.O. FLOOR - HALLWAY - LANGLEY - AFTERNOON 56
O'Donnell, frantically grabbing documents and tossing them into an accordion folder.
O'DONNELL The six of them went out a back exit. Brits turned them away, Kiwis turned them away. The Canadians took them in. They've been there since. O'Donnell hands Mendez pages with STAFF PHOTOGRAPHS of SIX PEOPLE -- the escaped embassy employees -- as he continues to toss stuff into his folder.
ARGO - Final 16.
56 CONTINUED: 56
O'DONNELL Traffic calls them The Houseguests. Haven't left the Canadian ambassador's house since it happened.
O'DONNELL (shakes his head) Just a matter of time. We've got Revolutionary Guards going door-to- door like Jehovah's Witnesses, looking for escapees. They're out for blood, Tony. Half of them think Khomeini's been too lenient with the ones in the embassy. Walking out of his office, Mendez following.
MENDEZ White House?
56A INT. CIA - THE PIT - CONTINUOUS ACTION 56A
They walk through an open floor of cubicles lined with offices, we get a look at the 1979 CIA headquarters: nothing sleek or sexy about the interior. An open area of desks where Woodward and Bernstein might be spilling coffee on their thick ˜70s ties. Papers and files everywhere. Trash emptying happens only once a week. Cigarette and cigar butts in ashtrays. Everything is perpetually a mess. And typewriters. The constant percussive sound of telexes and typing is the metronome that beats out the day here.
O'DONNELL Carter's shitting enough bricks to build the pyramids. He wants the six of them out.
MENDEZ Who else knows?
O'DONNELL Just the families. Meanwhile, some genius in the embassy was keeping a mug book of everybody who worked there.
MENDEZ Jesus Christ.
ARGO - Final 17.
56A CONTINUED: 56A
O'DONNELL We think it got shredded before they got in, but the fuckers have sweat-shop kids in there re- assembling the shreds.
O'DONNELL They're gonna make an example of the ones who escaped. Standing- room-only for beheadings in the square.
MENDEZ Who's handling? They walk through a door and out of the Pit.
57 INT. D.O. FLOOR - HALLWAY - AFTERNOON 57
-- into a HALLWAY WITH POP ART on the walls. People with laminated badges and folders with red stripes walk with purpose.
O'DONNELL State's coordinating in-house.
MENDEZ They don't do exfils.
O'DONNELL They do now. They want to run it by us, strictly as consultants. Off his look.
O'DONNELL Engell's saying it's lose-lose. These people die, they die badly. Publicly. ˜State wants the blame, he'll give it to them.
MENDEZ Then why's he want me?
O'DONNELL So he can tell State he ran it by his best exfil guy. They stop in front of a conference room. Jack looks at him.
O'DONNELL Tony. This isn't the kind of meeting where you talk.
ARGO - Final 18.
58 INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - A FEW MINUTES LATER 58
They enter to find: ADAM ENGELL, 40s or 50s, Deputy Chief of Operations, hosting visitors from the State Department: PENDER and BATES from State. The State guys are both dressed better than the CIA guys, except for Engell. Other CIA Operations OFFICERS and ANALYSTS sit in audience.
ENGELL Okay. This is Bob Pender from State O.S. He's been talking to Morgan at ExtAff. GENCO, a State Department Assistant, removes a drape from the photographs of SIX FACES, State Department I.D. photos. Pender indicates the first two photos -- and during this, we may flash to scenes of the Houseguests in the Canadian ambassador's residence --
PENDER Mark and Cora Lijek, 29 and 25. He's a consular officer and she's an assistant. Newlyweds. They just got there a couple of months ago. No language skills or in- country knowledge. (re: the next photo) Henry Lee Schatz. Agricultural attache from Idaho. He was there to sell U.S. tractors to Iranian agro. Hid out with the Swedes during the takeover then made his way to join the others with the Canadians. (re: next photo) J Stafford. Late twenties. He's smart and a climber. Speaks Farsi. Arranged the hire of his wife Kathy --
BATES Understaffed so the faculty wives were the typing pool. That gs without comment in this room of men.
PENDER (then, finally) Bob Anders. Senior consular officer, oldest of the group. Most likely to be group leader. So.
ARGO - Final 19.
58 CONTINUED: 58
PENDER (CONT'D) (now, shifting gears) What we like for this are bicycles. We've identified backroads from the Shemiran district -- a couple of rat lines through the mountains to the crossing at Tabriz. Cars are off the table because of the roadblocks. Pender nods to Bates, who gs to a map, indicating the north of Iran.
BATES We wait till the weather clears up then we deliver six bikes and provide maps to the Turkish border.
PENDER We have intelligence they can ride bicycles. Or we're prepared to send in somebody to teach them. The professional spies shifting at the stupidity of it. But nobody speaks up. And then --
MENDEZ You can send in training wheels and wait at the border with Gatorade. Attention turns to Mendez. O'Donnell shifts. Engell, not happy.
MENDEZ It's 300 miles to the Turkish crossings. They'd need a support crew behind them with a tire pump.
ENGELL PENDER (directed at Mendez) Who is -- We've only been asked to sharpshoot this, State's handling the op.
O'DONNELL Tony's an exfil spesh. He got a lot of the shah's people out after the fall.
ARGO - Final 20.
58 CONTINUED: (2) 58
(TO PENDER) If these people can read OR add, any minute they're gonna figure out they're six short of a full deck. It's winter. You wanna wait around for a nice spring day for bike rides?
(A BEAT) The only way out's through the airport. You build them new identities, a Moses gs in, takes them out on a commercial flight.
BATES ENGELL We're exploring that They wouldn't clear airport option. control. Komiteh own the place.
BATES They would pose as reporters. The government issued 70-something -- Jumping in--MARIO MALINOV, 30s, an ambitious Bulgarian CIA analyst, Bronx Science and MIT, raised in Queens,
BATES MALINOV -- visas for American 74. journalists.
MALINOV And the Revolutionary Guards keep them on 74 leashes.
MENDEZ They get caught with journalist creds, you've got Peter Jennings with a noose around his neck in an hour. PAUL LAMONT, late 20s, a Master's from the Woodrow Wilson School before he joined CIA --
LAMONT World Noose Tonight. Pender looks at Bates, who is trying to impress his boss.
BATES North American accents give us limited options. So we get the Canadians to issue them passports...
ARGO - Final 21.
58 CONTINUED: (3) 58
GENCO English teachers from the international school. Tested model. It's worked before.
MENDEZ The school was shut eight months ago. Bates, meanwhile, removing a binder from his accordion folder: in the binder, a photograph of an emaciated kid in Namibia.
BATES So do-gooders. They're six Canadians who've been over there inspecting crops. Making sure the kids get enough to eat. Get them creds for an AG NGO -- But he's already lost Mendez, who is going through a newspaper on the table.
BATES MALINOV A Feed the Children thing -- These kids are black. O.S. can make binders with These are African kids. starving kids --
LAMONT GENCO Are there starving kids in We can get ethnically Iran? appropriate kids.
PENDER ROSSI I'm sure there's skinny A logo with... seeds. kids... ˜Seeds of Hope'... Mendez holds a page from the newspaper up to Pender.
MENDEZ What do you see in the picture, sir? A beat. Pender dsn't like this, but he'll play.
MENDEZ What's on the ground?
ARGO - Final 22.
58 CONTINUED: (4) 58
MENDEZ So what crops are the do-gooders inspecting under Frosty? Pender shifts.
MENDEZ Exfils are like abortions. You don't wanna need one, but when you do, you don't do it yourself. The meeting is breaking up. Pender, followed by Bates, leaves the room. Engell, who has just been made to look bad and inherited a problem, stops by Tony.
(TO MENDEZ) You have a better plan? Mendez dsn't respond.
ENGELL Get one.
58A-59 OMITTED 58A-59
60 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DINING ROOM - 60
NIGHT At dinner around a dining room table: the SIX HOUSEGUESTS; KEN TAYLOR, 40s, Canadian ambassador. He ds much to support the myth that Canadians are always in a good mood. Next to him is PAT TAYLOR, Filipino, 40s. We're joining various conversations, including one with LEE SCHATZ, 29, an American agricultural attache, the sixth escapee we heard about.
TAYLOR -- Martin was the worst one. Martin the Maximo King --
PAT TAYLOR (to Lee Schatz) -- he looked like a cartoon witch doctor, bone through his nose, so she asked to take her picture with
HIM -- J Stafford, keeping to himself.
KATHY STAFFORD (to J Stafford) You okay?
ARGO - Final 23.
60 CONTINUED: 60
CORA LIJEK -- if your family's hungry, you don't want to hear about international law --
MARK LIJEK CORA LIJEK And she's off! Defending Not defending. Explaining. them again -- Stockholm
MARK LIJEK Same thing. The sound of a fork on a glass. Ken Taylor is standing up.
TAYLOR I read today that Tehran was voted the second most desirable city in the world to live in. Everywhere else tied for first.
(TOAST) To getting through ten weeks. To our guests.
LEE SCHATZ (raising his glass) Our hosts. Mr. Ambassador...
BOB ANDERS CORA LIJEK Hear, hear... And Mrs. But the liquid in their wine glasses is beginning to shake. The noise of a HELICOPTER. Taylor tries to be pleasant.
TAYLOR You should get into the crawl space.
61-67 OMITTED 61-67
68 INT. MENDEZ'S CAR - NIGHT 68
Mendez listens to the radio as he drives home along the bridge, the Jefferson Memorial beyond.
NEWSCASTER (V.O.) The White House Christmas tree was taken down today after never having been lit, as the cruel stalemate in Iran continues.
ARGO - Final 24.
68 CONTINUED: 68 This is a --
69 MONTAGE 69 that jumps around the world -- scenes of our principals and overlapping news accounts play.
FRANK REYNOLDS (V.O.) Today, a clear threat to place the remaining 50 Americans on trial as spies.
69A INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) - NIGHT 69A
The Houseguests getting up from dinner. Kathy Stafford hesitates.
J STAFFORD (to Pat Taylor) Kathy dsn't want to go down again.
BOB ANDERS J STAFFORD Jesus Christ -- She's claustrophobic.
69B FOOTAGE OF NILOFUR EKTEBAR - AKA TEHRAN MARY 69B The Penn-educated Tokyo Rose of the hostage crisis. She's reading a statement to the camera.
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.)
ENGLISH) Those who remain here are spies. They will be treated as spies who have interfered with the sovereignty of the people of Iran.
69C INT. MENDEZ' CAR - NIGHT 69C
Mendez driving -- thinking --
69D INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) - NIGHT 69D
MARK LIJEK J STAFFORD You're putting us all at They're not going to come risk -- into the house.
ARGO - Final 25.
69D CONTINUED: 69D
LEE SCHATZ BOB ANDERS It's her choice. Leave her (angry) be. G'head. Put flowers in their gun barrels -- SAHAR, housekeeper, is visible here cleaning up after their meal.
70 INT. MUSHROOM INN - DAY 70
A dark room where hostages are kept in groups of two. A 21-year-old with an automatic weapon --
CROSS-CUTTING WITH --
71 INTERVIEW FOOTAGE OF AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI 71
(SUBTITLED) If Carter ds not send back the Shah, it is possible that they will be tried and if they are tried, who knows what will happen.
72 INT. SMALL-TOWN BAR - DAY 72
News footage of men inside a small-town bar. It's a broadcast of RON MILLER reporting from barometer community Pecatonica, Illinois, on ABC News', America Held Hostage. ( 11/21/79)
RON MILLER (V.O.) So, like the government in Washington, the people in Pecatonica are grappling for solutions. JACK STROUP, Vietnam vet, red beard, a cap with the Kenworth trucks logo, a denim jacket.
STROUP (V.O.) Even in our little community here, people are drawn up, they're tense.
73 OMITTED 73
ARGO - Final 26.
74 INT. CARPET FACTORY - DAY 74
ANGLE - A SMALL HAND pieces shreds together to form the words: U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE -- TEHRAN -- CLASSIFIED. He is working on reassembling the seized EMBASSY PAPERS -- a giant pile of shredded documents -- with the skill of a blindfolded child Mozart at the harpsichord. We see the unmistakable image of a FACE being formed from the shredded material.
75 ANGLE - CLOSEUP OF AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI 75 (Footage from a Mike Wallace interview. 60 Minutes
(FARSI) Our young people have taken over this nest of corruption. America can't do a damn thing about it --
76 OMITTED 76
77 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 77 Rage at an anti-Iran protest in front of the White House. Signs: DEPORT ALL IRANIANS/CAMEL JOCKEYS GO HOME. An IRANIAN-AMERICAN MAN is kicked as he crouches on the ground. A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN looks murderous as she waves an American flag at the camera.
78 INT. SMALL-TOWN BAR - DAY 78
Back to the ABC News report, the bar in Pecatonica.
STROUP (V.O.) I'm like that guy screamin' in that movie-program Network, y'know? I've had it. And if need be, I'll bear arms again.
ARGO - Final 27.
79 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) - NIGHT 79
The Houseguests descend into the crawlspace, a darkened, cramped area -- first the Lijeks, then Anders and Schatz... then J and Kathy Stafford. The trapdoor closes and the crawlspace gs COMPLETELY
80 INT. MENDEZ APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT 80
WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
(ON TV) And that's the way it is, on this, the 70th day of captivity for the American hostages in Iran. Mendez is watching Cronkite on a small television in his kitchen. In front of him, a folder with Xeroxed photographs of the HOUSEGUESTS. He changes the channel and finds a GOOFY SEVENTIES COMMERCIAL -- He picks up the phone.
81 INT. CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - CROSS-CUTTING - NIGHT 81
IAN MENDEZ, 7 and about to turn 8, is watching a movie on his bed. He picks up on the second ring.
MENDEZ (V.O.) Buddy-man.
IAN Mom's asleep.
MENDEZ You do homework tonight?
MENDEZ What was it? But Tony can hear a television soundtrack with ominous electronic music.
ARGO - Final 28.
81 CONTINUED: 81
MENDEZ What do I hear?
(COMING CLEAN) ˜Battle for Planet of the Apes.' Am I in trouble? A beat.
MENDEZ What channel?
IAN Nine. 81 Mendez turns on his living room television to the three- 81 hour BATTLE FOR PLANET OF THE APES.
MENDEZ Catch me up. Tony listens, staring ahead at the TV . A desert landscape dotted with technological garbage. An ape played by Roddy MacDowell walks across the landscape. He's staring at the television, but now really paying attention. The apes walk into the ruins of what was once a great city. RODDY MacDOWELL (V.O.) (on TV, as Caesar) This is the hell my forefathers used to speak about. (Etc.)
ON TONY staring at the movie. Wheels turning in his head.
82-85 OMITTED 82-85
86 INT. SCI-FI LAB - A MINOTAUR - DAY 86
A bull/human experiment in a SCI-FI lab, coming to bovine life. A SEXY SPACE NURSE is administering some kind of shot to him. A SECOND NURSE stands by.
SPACE NURSE My creation... My creation...
ARGO - Final 29.
86 CONTINUED: 86 The Minotaur lifts his head, KNOCKS into the Nurse.
(BREAKING CHARACTER) What the fuck, Brian?
DIRECTOR (O.S.) Cut!
WE'RE CUTTING! A bell. WIDER REVEALS that we're on a...
87 INT. WARNER BROS. SOUNDSTAGE - DAY 87
A DIRECTOR, 40s, whispers something to an A.D., mid- thirties.
A.D. (inquiring into a
WALKIE) John Chambers. John Chambers make- up...
88 INT. WARNER BROS. SOUNDSTAGE - DAY 88
JOHN CHAMBERS, Hollywood's first Oscar winner for makeup, walks onto set carrying a fishing tackle box of supplies.
SUPERIMPOSE: BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19, 1980 The A.D. joins Chambers, walking him onto the set.
A.D. He says the Minotaur's prosthetic is too tight so he can't act.
CHAMBERS If he could act he wouldn't be playing the Minotaur. He smiles and waves at the Minotaur and begins to work on his prosthetic with a brush and solvent.
ARGO - Final 30.
89 INT. NEAR CRAFT SERVICES TABLE - DAY 89
Chambers is foraging through ˜70s SNACKS. At the craft service table. A guy in his SPACE ARMOR PANTS without the top is eating as well. A P.A. approaches, carrying a PHONE on a long cord.
P.A. Mr. Chambers.
(STILL FORAGING) Who is it?
P.A. Kevin Harkins? Chambers gives the kid a look, takes the phone from him and puts it to his ear.
CHAMBERS Hey, Tony.
90 INT. CIA - CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY 90
Pender and Engell sit at the table; O'Donnell hovers. A few State Department and CIA ANALYSTS here, including Malinov and Lamont; and DAVID MARMOR, early 30s, Engell's guy.
O'DONNELL (quiet, to Malinov) Is he coming? Engell nods for the door to be shut.
(TO PENDER) Okay. Our N.E. put together a work-up. David.
MARMOR They would pose as teachers from the international school.
PENDER We went through all that -- it's boarded up -- O'Donnell looking at the clock.
ARGO - Final 31.
90 CONTINUED: 90
MARMOR Suppose the airport guards don't know that --
PENDER Suppose. Suppose Heckle and Jeckle go over and save them -- The door swings open.
MENDEZ Hi. Sorry. Hi.
O'DONNELL Have a seat, Tony. He dsn't. There's an energy in him we haven't seen before.
MENDEZ They're a Canadian film crew on a location scout for a science fiction movie -- A shift in the room.
MENDEZ Star Wars, Star Trek. They need an exotic place to shoot. We put it out -- the Canadian producers put it out -- that they're looking at Turkey, Egypt, whatever. Then we go to the consulate and say we wanna look at Iran. I fly in there and we fly out together as a film crew. Done.
(DRY) ˜In an exfiltration, flamboyant cover identities should be avoided, as it increases
MENDEZ This is more plausible than foreigners who want to go to school in Iran --
ENGELL So you're going to wake up tomorrow in the movie business? We have credentials for --
ARGO - Final 32.
90 CONTINUED: (2) 90
MENDEZ I've got a contact in L.A.
(CATCHING ON) Chambers.
(TO PENDER) John Chambers. He's a Hollywood prosthetics guy, ds contracting work for us on the side. If I go see him, he'll set us up. A couple days to make it look real. Mendez and O'Donnell turn their eyes on Pender, who is the decision-maker here.
PENDER (after a beat, to
MENDEZ) Remind me who you are again?
91 INT. CIA - THE PIT - A FEW MINUTES LATER 91
Tony stands in small messy KITCHEN AREA, pouring coffee. On the coffeepot somebody's pinned a note: CHANGE FILTER
IF YOU USE! DO UNTO OTHERS. O'Donnell approaches, quietly stands behind him, smoking quietly. Mendez turns around.
O'DONNELL We want you to go to L.A. If you can make the movie thing credible, we'll take it to the Director. (a beat; a cigarette
DRAG) Don't fuck up. The whole country's watching you. They just don't know it.
92 INT. T.W.A. FLIGHT - MORNING 92
Mendez sits in an aisle seat. The PASSENGER next to him is looking at the headline of The New York Times: NEW
THREATS FOR HOSTAGE TRIBUNALS. Mendez is reading THE FIVE C'S OF CINEMATOGRAPHY.
ARGO - Final 33.
93 INT. MIDDLE-CLASS TEHRAN HOUSE - NIGHT 93
Six KOMITEH force their way into a house.
SAVAK! SAVAK! A Komiteh drags away a MAN in his forties while the man's wife cries. Automatic weapons are aimed at him, point- blank. From ACROSS THE STREET, an IRANIAN WOMAN, 20s, watches.
94 OMITTED 94
95 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - 95
NIGHT Lee Schatz and Bob Anders play poker in a room decorated with Persian carpets and mosaics. The gunfire audible here too. Staring at their cards.
LEE SCHATZ 50 caliber?
BOB ANDERS Mmm. 50, 35.
95A INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DINING ROOM - 95A
NIGHT Pat Taylor helps THE SAME WOMAN we just saw, SAHAR, 20s, clear the table. She is their housekeeper.
SAHAR Your friends from Canada, ma'am. All this time. They never go out. A significant moment of eye contact. Then Sahar gs back to clearing the table.
96 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - KITCHEN - LATER 96
Kathy Stafford is roughly washing wine glasses at the sink.
J STAFFORD You've washed them three times. He puts his arm on her shoulder. She keeps scrubbing.
ARGO - Final 34.
97 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - BATHROOM - NIGHT 97
Ken Taylor is brushing his teeth in the mirror. Pat comes in.
PAT TAYLOR Sahar knows.
98 EXT. BURBANK - AFTERNOON 98
The water tower on Warner Bros. studio -- which in 1980 read, Burbank Studios.
99 INT. CHAMBERS' STUDIO - AFTERNOON 99
Chambers leads Mendez into his makeup studio and starts to open windows. Around the studio: stunt double-masks, deformed monster foreheads, dental implants on shelves. Planet of the Apes prosthetics. Mr. Spock ears on Styrofoam stands. (Chambers created all these -- really.)
MENDEZ What are you shooting?
CHAMBERS A monster movie.
MENDEZ Any good?
CHAMBERS The target audience will hate it.
MENDEZ Who's the target audience?
CHAMBERS People with eyes. Talk to me.
MENDEZ It's an exfil.
CHAMBERS From where?
MENDEZ Worst place you can think of.
CHAMBERS Universal City.
ARGO - Final 35.
99 CONTINUED: 99 Mendez picks up a Newsweek magazine under a can of Tab on a makeup table: blindfolded Iran hostages on the cover. Chambers takes it in for a moment -- the gravity of it.
CHAMBERS How you getting in the embassy?
MENDEZ Six got away. They're hiding in the city. I'm going over to get them.
CHAMBERS What am I making?
MENDEZ I need you to help me make a fake movie.
CHAMBERS You've come to the right place.
MENDEZ I need to set up a production company and build a cover around making a movie.
CHAMBERS That we're not going to make.
CHAMBERS You want to go around Hollywood acting like you're an important person in the movie business.
MENDEZ That's right.
CHAMBERS But you don't want to actually do anything.
CHAMBERS You'll fit right in.
ARGO - Final 36.
100 INT. SMOKE HOUSE - AFTERNOON 100
A couple of empty highball glasses on the table. Chambers is looking at PHOTOGRAPHS of the SIX. Mendez is taking notes. On a photo of Cora Lijek.
CHAMBERS This one's got an M.A. in English. She should be your screenwriter. Sometimes they go on scouts ˜cause they want the free meals. (re: Bob Anders) This guy's the director.
MENDEZ Can you teach a guy how to be a director in a day?
CHAMBERS You can teach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day. Look, if you're gonna do it, you've got to do it. The Khomaniacs are fruit loops, but they have cousins selling eight tracks and prayer rugs on La Brea. You can't build cover stories around a movie that dsn't exist. You need a script. You need a producer.
MENDEZ I'm the producer.
CHAMBERS No, you're not. ˜Associate' at best. If it's a twenty-million dollar Star Wars rip-off, you need somebody who's a somebody to put his name on it. Here we see some AUTOGRAPHED ˜70s CELEBRITY 8X10s hanging on the wall. The waiter brings a bill.
CHAMBERS Somebody respectable. With credits. Who we can trust with classified information. Who'll produce a fake movie. For free.
101 EXT. BEVERLY HILLS - EVENING 101
They walk up the driveway of a ˜70s Bel Air home.
ARGO - Final 37.
101 CONTINUED: 101
SIEGEL (V.O.) Yeah, come in.
102 INT. SIEGEL HOUSE - HALLWAY - EVENING 102
And there's LESTER SIEGEL, a semi-legendary producer in his semi-legendary seventies. He's equal parts bookie and rabbi. His father sold perfume on the Lower East Side. Lester is halfway to dressed in a tuxedo.
(SHAKES HANDS) I only got a couple minutes. I'm getting a lifetime achievement award tonight.
CHAMBERS Mazel tov, Lester.
SIEGEL Aaah, I'd rather stay home and count the wrinkles on my dog's balls. These fuckin' things are like getting measured for your coffin. ˜He don't look so good. Let's give him an honorary award.'
TIME CUT TO:
103 INT. SIEGEL'S DEN - ANGLE ON TV - TED KOPPEL - EVENING 103
Reporting on Iran.
SIEGEL (O.S.) A little experiment. You be me hearing you. The TV we're watching sits in a room with a couple of Golden Globes and pictures of a younger Lester.
SIEGEL Six people in the middle of a city of, what, four million -- ON TV, a wild-eyed woman in the crowd (in one of the most widely-played clips of the hostage crisis) makes an ax- falling gesture with her arm repeatedly.
ARGO - Final 38.
103 CONTINUED: 103
SIEGEL -- who chant ˜Death to America' all the livelong day. You wanna set up a picture in a week. Lie to a whole town of people who lie for a living. Have Double-O-Seven here sneak into a country that wants CIA blood with their breakfast cereal. Duck Iranian intelligence. Then walk the Brady Bunch out of the most watched city in the world...
MENDEZ ... and past a hundred Komiteh at the airport.
SIEGEL Look, I wanna help you but... In the Army, we did suicide missions that had better odds. So lemme hit it again for the cheap seats:
NO. Chambers gives Mendez a look.
CHAMBERS (to Lester, as he
GETS UP) Enjoy your fish dinner tonight. Chambers stops at the muted television. More images of angry crowds.
CHAMBERS You ever think, Lester, how it's all for the cameras?
SIEGEL They're getting the ratings, I'll give ˜em that -- Siegel looks at the TV: at that moment, a HOSTAGE TAKER holding up photos of hostages for CAMERAS in front of him. He takes a beat.
SIEGEL We're gonna need a script. A beat of silence. A LOOK from Siegel to Chambers.
(PRE-LAP) How ˜bout The Horses of Achilles?
ARGO - Final 39.
104 EXT. BY LESTER'S POOL - MORNING 104
Chambers, on hold on the phone, walks to Siegel holding up The Horses of Achilles script in a William Morris binder. Stacks of scripts on a table outside. Siegel's new A.F.I. award is being used as a coaster.
SIEGEL Nobody makes Westerns anymore.
CHAMBERS (looking through it) It's ancient Troy.
SIEGEL If it's got horses in the title, it's a Western.
CHAMBERS (into the phone) Yeah, Kenny, please. It's John Chambers, about the office space.
(THEN) It dsn't matter. It's a fake movie.
SIEGEL If I'm doing a fake movie, it's gonna be a fake hit.
(TO PHONE) Is A006 still open on the lot?
105 INT. SIEGEL'S LIVING ROOM - DAY 105
Mendez, on the PHONE near a fully stocked bar.
O'DONNELL (V.O.) The Canadians are done. Say they're bearing too much risk.
106 INT. O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - CROSS-CUTTING - DAY 106
O'DONNELL Foreign Secretary cornered Vance in Brussels and told him she's serving eviction papers. The Cardinal wants all cover options on his desk Friday morning.
MENDEZ That's too soon.
ARGO - Final 40.
106 CONTINUED: 106
O'DONNELL Engell's prepping the Bikes Option and the Teachers Option. You've got 72 hours to make yours better...
107 INT. SIEGEL'S LIVING ROOM - DAY 107
Mendez is looking down at the SCRIPT in front of him. He opens to the first page.
ANGLE ON HIM reading, thinking.
108 EXT. LESTER'S POOL - DAY 108
Mendez walks up to the table where Siegel and Chambers are already eating.
MENDEZ (entering, reading) ˜Fade in on starship landing. An exotic, Middle Eastern vibe. Women gather, offering ecstatic libations to the sky gods.'
(LOOKS UP) ˜ARGO. A science-fantasy adventure.' Mendez throws down the script.
SIEGEL It's in turnaround. It's dog shit.
MENDEZ It's a space movie in the Middle East. Ds it matter? Chambers looks at the BULLSEYE logo on the cover page. Reacts.
(TO LESTER) Can we get the option?
MENDEZ Why do we need the option?
ARGO - Final 41.
108 CONTINUED: 108
SIEGEL You're worried about the Ayatollah? Try the WGA.
109 EXT. CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD (HOLLYWOOD) - DAY 109
Tony and Lester turn off Sunset Blvd. and into the office complex.
SIEGEL He's only a prick if you catch him on the wrong day.
MENDEZ Is it the wrong day?
SIEGEL It's always the wrong day. They've arrived at a door with a sign: MAX KLEIN
110 OMITTED 110
111 INT. MAX KLEIN'S OFFICE - A FEW MINUTES LATER 111
We see all kinds of MOVIE POSTERS AND MEMORABILIA ALL
OVER THE OFFICE.
KLEIN You're gonna get this into production in one month?
MENDEZ One month.
KLEIN Who are you again?
MENDEZ Kevin Harkins. Studio Six Films.
SIEGEL He's the money.
KLEIN I thought you were retired, Lester.
ARGO - Final 42.
111 CONTINUED: 111
SIEGEL -- Till I read the Argo. Look, how ˜bout we say fifteen thou and close on this?
KLEIN You want me to be honest with you, Les?
SIEGEL Naah, bullshit me, Max.
KLEIN Okay. Because I enjoyed your films, the early ones. I took this meeting out of respect because I wanted to tell you ˜no' to your face.
SIEGEL Thank you. Very respectful.
KLEIN You're done, Lester. You've gotta get your cataracts fixed and read the trades. MGM just capitalized for six new films and they're desperate for Sci-Fi. They've already offered me four times what you are.
(A BEAT) What can I say? Congratulations. (shrugs to Mendez) He's got me. A beat. Mendez ready to go --
SIEGEL But see -- it worries me, what you said, and I'll tell you why. A couple weeks back I was sitting in Trader Vic's enjoying a Mai Tai when my pal Warren Beatty came to wish me well and we had a little chat. Seems he was attached to star in Zulu Empire -- which was gonna anchor that MGM slate -- but Warren confided in me that the picture's gone over-budget ˜cause the Zulu extras wanna unionize.
ARGO - Final 43.
111 CONTINUED: (2) 111
SIEGEL (CONT'D) They may be cannibals swallowing each other up but they want health and dental, so the movie's kaput -- which means that MGM deal ain't gonna happen and your script ain't worth the buffalo-shit on a nickel. So. Lester takes some documents out of a folder.
SIEGEL The way this looks to me -- through the cataracts, I grant you -- is that you can either sign here and take ten thousand for your toilet-paper script -- or you can go fuck yourself. Siegel smiles kindly and holds a pen and the contracts out to Klein. Klein takes them.
112 EXT. STREET - A FEW MINUTES LATER 112
MENDEZ You know Warren Beatty?
SIEGEL I took a leak next to him at the Golden Globes.
113 OMITTED 113
114 EXT. WARNER BROS. LOT - LATE DAY 114
Lester and Tony eat tacos at a picnic table on the lot.
MENDEZ You got kids, Lester?
SIEGEL Two daughters.
MENDEZ You see them much?
SIEGEL I talk to them once a year, maybe.
MENDEZ Why's that?
ARGO - Final 44.
114 CONTINUED: 114
SIEGEL I was a terrible father.
(BEAT) The bullshit business is like coal mining. You can't wash it off before you kiss your wife and kids... You?
MENDEZ A son. Lives with his mother in Virginia.
SIEGEL You're divorced?
MENDEZ Taking time off. (then, quiet) He's gotta... stay where he is.
(BEAT) Kids need the mother.
114A EXT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE (LOT - NY STREET) - MORNING 114A
Chambers and a GRAPHIC ARTIST walk through the set. We REVEAL a couple of CYLON RAIDERS, helmets off, taking a break from shooting and leaning against the wall.
115 INT. O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - DAY 115
O'DONNELL reads from the EYES ONLY document.
O'DONNELL They caught the shah's chief of security trying to get on a plane to Paris.
116 INT. PRODUCTION OFFICE - MORNING 116
WIDER REVEALS that the production office is being set up. A couple of FURNITURE GUYS move chairs in. Mendez is looking at a POSTER. It reads: Studio Six Productions presents: ARGO. A COSMIC WAR.
ARGO - Final 45.
116 CONTINUED: 116
MENDEZ (to a graphic artist) ˜War' sounds like Star Wars. Let's use a different word. Mendez closes the door to his private office.
O'DONNELL ˜Since the incident, the number of guards at the airport has doubled. Thorough background examinations should be expected.'
MENDEZ I need another week.
O'DONNELL You don't have it.
117 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - NIGHT 117
Mendez gs out into the main part of the office -- it's Tony, Siegel, and Chambers now. They have hung up all their ARGO MATERIALS on the wall and are reviewing them.
MENDEZ We've got a script. We've got business cards.We've got a poster. If I'm them? It's nothing we couldn't make at home.
CHAMBERS I did a movie with Rock Hudson once.
(A BEAT) ˜You need to sell a lie, you get the press to sell it for you.'
118 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - DAY 118
Now it's noisy in here now -- a PUBLICIST, ASSISTANTS and controlled chaos --
SIEGEL (on the phone) -- press event and reading... No, I promised Variety exclusive on that one... Mendez is making a list with a PUBLICIST.
ARGO - Final 46.
118 CONTINUED: 118
MENDEZ ˜Biggest Canadian production in history.' Canadian Gone With The
PUBLICIST ASSISTANT #2 Canadian Sci-Fi Gone With Studio Six Films. The Wind. As Chambers pulls Mendez --
SIEGEL (on the phone) I gotta get back to you, Phil. I can't get my own mother a ticket. I had to tell her it was cancelled.
MENDEZ Are you turning people away?
SIEGEL (covering the phone) You know what gets more suckers than a sign that says ˜Brooklyn Bridge For Sale'? ˜Brooklyn Bridge: Approved Buyers Only.' (as they go) Philip? You there? Chambers leads us into the main room, leading Tony to a table where JACK KIRBY, 62, comics artist, fusses with large COMIC PANELS of ARGO CONCEPT DRAWINGS spread over a table. Kirby starts to distribute storyboards. Some hold on to them and an ASSISTANT begins putting them up on the board. Mendez looks at them. Impressed. He picks up a drawing of some futuristic-looking vehicles.
MENDEZ Any way to make the chariots look more -- Middle-Eastern -- ?
KIRBY Mesopotamia... Egypt...
MENDEZ Iran. Kirby takes out a marker and starts to sketch a futuristic-looking desert glider.
ARGO - Final 47.
119 OMITTED 119
120 OMITTED 120
121 OMITTED 121
122 OMITTED 122
123 EXT./INT. BEVERLY HILTON - LATE DAY 123
A black sedan pulls up to the hotel. A driver opens the back door. Mendez, Siegel, and Chambers get out of the car. They're wearing suits. They walk past a sign that reads: PRESS EVENT and READING FOR ARGO. A couple of posters with the explosion- in-space ARGO: A COSMIC CONFLAGRATION logo.
124 INT. BEVERLY HILTON - STARDUST LOUNGE - DUSK 124
Tony is on a balcony outside the ballroom. He passes the bar on his way in. Inside he sees Chambers, Lester and a PUBLICIST who promptly moves Tony into a conversation with a REPORTER.
PUBLICIST Janet from the Times -- You know Johnny Chambers and Lester Siegel. This is Kevin Harkins. He'll tell you a bit about the film -- We leave Mendez with the L.A. Times -- FOLLOWING Siegel -- Jack Kirby's storyboard drawings throughout the room. Four or five ACTORS IN SCI-FI COSTUMES.
WOMAN (O.S.) Lester. He turns around. NINA, a woman in her early sixties, made up to look younger.
SIEGEL You're gorgeous. You're in the reading?
ARGO - Final 48.
124 CONTINUED: 124
NINA I'm playing Serksi, the Galactic Witch. BACK TO: Mendez. A Publicist is guiding Mendez toward an anemic-looking man --
PUBLICIST (to Mendez,
INTRODUCING) Rodd from Variety. Kevin Harkins. BACK TO Siegel and Chambers, walking away from NINA.
SIEGEL Keep that fucking space witch away from me.
CHAMBERS You know her?
SIEGEL I was married to her. Mendez, now talking to RODD, from VARIETY.
(TO MENDEZ) You said shooting in Iran with an
RODD You ever watch the news? Publicist hands Mendez a LASER GUN and a photographer snaps his picture. Siegel walks by, downing one from the bar.
BACK TO SIEGEL AND CHAMBERS A Hollywood Reporter writer talking to Siegel. The publicist stands by --
REPORTER So the title refers to...
SIEGEL The Argo, it's the, y'know, the
ARGO - Final 49.
124 CONTINUED: (2) 124 Siegel takes a couple of canapÃ©s from a passing Waiter, starts eating.
REPORTER ... Jason and the Golden Fleece, or...?
(CHEWING) -- the spaceship, it flies around space, alllll over space --
REPORTER Is it the Argonaut? Siegel dsn't know what he's talking about.
REPORTER Then what ds ˜Argo' mean? And finally Lester's had it -- with his mouth full --
SIEGEL It means Argo fuck yourself.
PUBLICIST Let's all take our places for the reading. And we SETTLE ON MENDEZ. He takes a glass of wine from a passing waiter's tray, downs it, and puts it on another WAITER'S tray. We FOLLOW that waiter THROUGH a swinging door, INTO the kitchen and prep area, where a small black and white TV plays...
125 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 125 Tehran Mary speaks into a microphone.
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.)
(ON TV) As the Imam Khomeini said, we have found no evidence that proves that these people are diplomats.
126 INT. O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - NIGHT 126
O'Donnell, watching the same footage on the News.
ARGO - Final 50.
126 CONTINUED: 126
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.)
(ON TV) All evidence proves that these people are spies. The ARRAY OF VIDEO CAMERAS on tripods recording her.
(AS SERKSI) Our world has changed.
127 INT. BEVERLY HILTON HOTEL - STARDUST LOUNGE - DUSK 127
The reading of Argo is happening around a table.
PRINCESS ALEPPA The fire of hope stopped burning in this galaxy long ago. A HANDSOME LEAD, ACHILLES CRUX, says his line.
ACHILLES CRUX Fire the thrusters!!
128 INT. AROUND THE CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) 128
MARK LIJEK -- fifty-seven -- fifty-eight -- Mark counts out as Lee Schatz ds push-ups. Bob Anders watches a television in the b.g., subtitled in Farsi.
JIMMY CARTER (V.O.)
(ON TV) We will not yield to international terror or to blackmail.
129-130 OMITTED 129-130
131 INT. MUSHROOM INN (AMERICAN EMBASSY, TEHRAN) - NIGHT 131
Five of the EMBASSY HOSTAGES -- men from their 20s to their 50s -- are roused from their sleeping mats by Komiteh. Hoods are put over their heads.
PRINCESS ALEPPA (V.O.) The old ways are lost, but there is still hope.
ARGO - Final 51.
131 CONTINUED: 131
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.) We will begin the trials and will carry out the sentences. This MONTAGE: Voice upon voice, image upon image, landing on television sets.
132 OMITTED 132
133 INT. AMERICAN EMBASSY (TEHRAN) - BASEMENT - NIGHT 133
The four hostages, hoods on their heads, placed against the wall. HOSTAGE TAKERS raise their guns at the men.
GREEN JACKET PRINCESS ALEPPA (V.O.) (Farsi) If we find his ship, we Fire! will find our chance. Aboard the Argo lies my hope. My hero. My husband. They pull their triggers. But nothing happens. It's a mock execution (actually occurred -- February 5, 1980). The five hostages, after a beat, either scream or collapse.
134 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 134
J Stafford, watching Khomeini on TV, to Bob Anders --
(REALIZING THE gravity of it) He's marginalized the moderates now.
MARK LIJEK A hundred and twelve --
134A INT. BEVERLY HILTON - DUSK 134A
NESTOR THE DROID We're hit. We'll never clear the Perseus Range! We see the ROW OF PRESS PEOPLE. Not unlike the ones watching Tehran Mary.
ARGO - Final 52.
134B INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 134B
Lee Schatz collapses from his push-ups. Breathing heavily.
MARK LIJEK And we have a new champion. Bob Anders looks up from Khomeini, who keeps talking in the b.g., and applauds.
134C OMITTED 134C
134D INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 134D
SAHAR quietly cleans a table. She's watching the Houseguests.
CHAMBERS (V.O.) ˜Crane down over the battlefield and hold there...'
135 INT. BEVERLY HILTON HOTEL - NIGHT 135
Chambers, at the table, sitting next to Siegel. Mendez sits off to the side.
DIRECTIONS) ˜... on a single red flower growing from the ruins of the starship in the desert. Fade to black. The End.'
136 OMITTED 136
136A OMITTED 136A
137 INT. TONY'S HOTEL ROOM - EVENING 137
Mendez, lying on his bed with the phone. Near him, a copy of VARIETY turned to a full-page ad. ( This is real -- Variety): STUDIO SIX PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS: ARGO: A
ARGO - Final 53.
138 INT. NEAR O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - MORNING 138
O'Donnell comes from the kitchen to find ENGELL waiting. He hands O'Donnell a copy of Variety. ARGO TO BEGIN SHOOTING IN MARCH. Oscar-winner Chambers, Siegel Among Producers. And there is a photo of Mendez from the press event. Smiling and holding a laser gun.
139 INT. TONY'S HOTEL ROOM - MORNING 139
Mendez, seeing red, pacing --
MENDEZ Why'd he do it?
O'DONNELL (V.O.) He did it ˜cause he did it.
140 INT. O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - MORNING 140
O'DONNELL He saw a covert intelligence officer saying ˜cheese' with R2- D2. They're going with the teachers.
MENDEZ It's a death sentence, Jack.
O'DONNELL Well then it's on Engell.
(A BEAT) It's done, Tony. Wash your hands. He hangs up. Mendez, looking out the hotel window at
141 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - MORNING 141
While Tony packs a bag of papers from his desk.
SIEGEL I made thirty pictures. Half of them the pricks upstairs tried to shut me down. Mendez finishes packing, zips up the bag.
ARGO - Final 54.
141 CONTINUED: 141
SIEGEL My ass is staying right here and running a movie company. Mendez stops zipping as Siegel takes a bottle of Jack and three shot glasses from a drawer.
(POURS) Ey. The first shot of the picture. Lester gives glasses to each of them. Chambers holds up his glass.
CHAMBERS Argo fuck yourself. They raise to that.
MENDEZ AND SIEGEL Argo fuck yourself. They each do a shot. Then Tony picks up his bag and heads out. Before he gs --
MENDEZ How'd you always get around the pricks upstairs?
SIEGEL There's always another prick one floor higher up.
142 EXT. STATE DEPARTMENT - DAY 142
Mendez approaches the iconic building.
143 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT LOBBY - DAY 143
Mendez catches up with Jack on the second level of the lobby, opposite the row of flags.
O'DONNELL What did you do to get the meeting?
MENDEZ I used your name. Jack looks to Tony.
ARGO - Final 55.
143 CONTINUED: 143
MENDEZ You can forget about that time- share in Ocean City, Jack.
144 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT - SEVENTH FLOOR - RECEPTION ROOM - 144
DAY Tony and O'Donnell sit in the waiting area, across from a SECRETARY. They look down the hall to see: CIA DIRECTOR ADMIRAL STANSFIELD TURNER, 50s, and SECRETARY OF STATE CYRUS VANCE walk down the hall together, discussing something in hushed tones.
O'DONNELL (under his breath) Brace yourself. It's like talking to those two old fucks on ˜The Muppets.' Vance and Turner enter the room without recognizing them. Mendez and O'Donnell stand up.
145 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT - SEVENTH FLOOR OFFICE - ANGLE - 145
DAY A concept drawing from Argo.
TURNER (O.S.) Aliens and robots.
MENDEZ (O.S.) Yes, sir.
ANOTHER ANGLE The four men are gathered in the back of Vance's office, around a table. Over them we see the STATE DEPARTMENT
EMBLEM. TURNER is looking at the storyboard.
TURNER You're telling me there's a movie office in Hollywood right now that's funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.
MENDEZ Yes, sir.
ARGO - Final 56.
145 CONTINUED: 145
VANCE What's wrong with the bikes again? Vance, with a copy of Comics Week. THE NEXT STAR WARS? Next to it, a photograph from the press event: Mendez holding a laser gun. CANADIAN EPIC WILL BE FILMED IN THE
TURNER O'DONNELL ... you think this -- We tried to get the message
TURNER -- this is more plausible than teachers?
O'DONNELL One, there are no foreign teachers in Iran anymore --
MENDEZ -- two, we think everybody knows Hollywood people. And everybody thinks they would shoot during Stalingrad with Pol Pot directing if it'd sell tickets.
(BEAT) There are only bad options. It's about finding the best one.
TURNER You don't have a better bad idea than this?
O'DONNELL This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far. Vance and Turner exchange looks.
(TO MENDEZ) The United States government just sanctioned your science fiction movie.
146 INT. MENDEZ'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT 146
Mendez is packing to go. He packs a passport with his photo and the name KEVIN COSTA HARKINS. He takes off his wedding band and places it with care -- almost with ceremony -- in a spot on his dresser.
ARGO - Final 57.
147 OMITTED 147
148 INT. O'DONNELL'S CAR - NIGHT 148
O'Donnell is driving, Mendez in the passenger seat. They just sit there for a moment. In the car.
O'DONNELL I'm required to remind you that if you're detained, the agency will not claim you.
MENDEZ Barely claim me as it is.
O'DONNELL Your ˜In Case Of's' good?
MENDEZ Just Christine. They don't need to look at one another. A shared understanding.
MENDEZ Guess I should have brought some books to read in prison.
O'DONNELL Nah. They'll kill you long before prison. Tony gets out of the car, pulls his bags from the back seat, and slams the door. Headed into the airport.
149 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - DUSK 149
Siegel is standing in the office watching Jimmy Carter speak mournfully on TV, Chambers watching from a desk behind him.
SIEGEL Bad news, bad news, even when it's good news it's bad news. Christ. (a phone starts
RINGING) John Wayne's in the ground six months and this is what's left of America.
ARGO - Final 58.
149 CONTINUED: 149
CHAMBERS (picking up the
PHONE) Studio Six.
150 INT. DULLES AIRPORT - NIGHT 150
MENDEZ We've got a green light. Chambers gives Siegel a thumbs-up.
MENDEZ Keep the office running till you hear otherwise. (this means thank
YOU) Argo fuck yourself.
151 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - DUSK 151
CHAMBERS Argo fuck yourself.
152 OMITTED 152
153 INT. CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - NIGHT 153
The phone in the living room rings. No one is home.
154 INT. DULLES AIRPORT - NIGHT 154
Mendez hangs up the airport pay phone.
155 INT. DULLES AIRPORT - LATER 155
He sits near a mailbox inside the terminal writing on a postcard with the Washington Monument on it.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BUDDY-MAN. NO PHONE FOR A WHILE. JACK WILL CALL. LOVE YOU BOTH. Then he adds: SO MUCH. He drops the card in the box and heads toward a gate marked LUFTHANSA.
ARGO - Final 59.
156 OMITTED 156
157 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - DAY 157
The Houseguests are gathered around Bob Anders.
BOB ANDERS -- it was thirty seconds for Christ's sake. To get some air in the yard. I couldn't breathe --
MARK LIJEK J STAFFORD You know what the rules All it takes is one second are. to spot you.
BOB ANDERS Who saw me go out?
MARK LIJEK CORA LIJEK It dsn't matter. You did I did, actually. I saw go out. you.
BOB ANDERS (to Cora Lijek) Miss Hall Monitor. Creeping around with her notebook --
(SOMETHING ROUSED) Don't talk to her that way.
CORA LIJEK BOB ANDERS (to Mark) Little Laura Ingalls. I'll defend myself. Okay? Watching every move -- A sound at the door, and they go silent.
LEE SCHATZ Dad's home. Ken carrying his briefcase, cheerfully oblivious to what he's walked into.
TAYLOR You're getting a visitor.
158 OMITTED 158
159 INT. WEST WING - MORNING 159
An NSC LIAISON, holding a file with a red stripe, walks to Jordan's office.
ARGO - Final 60.
160 INT. CHIEF OF STAFF OFFICE - MORNING 160
He finds Jordan sitting on a long table, looking exhausted, silently watching one of the monitors: The Today Show on NBC.
JORDAN A man in Scranton's putting a flag on his lawn for every day of captivity.
(BEAT) When he runs out of lawn, Kennedy wins the primary. Vance hands him the folder.
LIAISON The six with the Canadians are coming out. Jordan, brought back from Scranton and politics by this, opens the file and looks at it.
JORDAN (after a moment) Who signed off on this?
161 OMITTED 161
161A EXT. ISTANBUL - DAY 161A
ESTABLISHING SHOT. WIDE. OVER the city, featuring the famous domed mosques.
SUPERIMPOSE: ISTANBUL - JANUARY 25
162 EXT. ISTANBUL - PLAZA ON THE WATER - DAY 162
Mendez walks, the BOSPHORUS in the b.g. He reaches the doors of an OFFICIAL-LOOKING BUILDING and gs inside.
163 INT. IRANIAN CONSULATE (ISTANBUL) - DAY 163
Mendez sits in a reception room with a few VISA APPLICANTS. Photographs of the Ayatollah Khomeini hang on the wall. Two REVOLUTIONARY GUARD OFFICIALS in ill- fitting suits sit at a desk.
ARGO - Final 61.
164 INT. IRANIAN CONSULATE - VISA OFFICE - DAY 164
The IRANIAN CONSUL OFFICIAL, late 30s, is smoking.
CONSUL OFFICIAL What will be the purpose of your visit to Iran?
MENDEZ Business. Film production. The Consul Official looks at his Canadian passport.
CONSUL OFFICIAL Why didn't you get your visa in Canada?
MENDEZ My boss waited until I was here to send the telex.
(LIGHTING CIGARETTE) If he had a thought in his head, it would die of loneliness. Pointed look from Mendez. The universal condition of boss hatred almost always works for him, and it ds now. Consul nods. Stamps the passport. KINGDOM OF IRAN -- He crosses out KINGDOM and writes by hand: ISLAMIC REPUBLIC
164A EXT. BLUE MOSQUE - MORNING 164A
Tony walks through the doorway revealing the historic mosque, we hear the call to prayer echo through the courtyard. Tony walks through the courtyard. We see some TOURISTS with ˜70s Instamatics. Locals are HEADING
IN TO PRAY.
165 INT. HAGIA SOPHIA - UPPER LEVEL - LATER 165
We see the beautiful ceiling of the former cathedral. PULL BACK to reveal Tony stands looking out over the second level balcony. A MAN walks up behind him.
MAN (O.S.) ˜Iran is a hundred percent not in a pre-revolutionary state.' End quote. Mendez looks up: a MAN, late 40s-50s with a British accent, is talking to him. PETER NICHOLLS, an Oxbridge type and a very good spy.
ARGO - Final 62.
165 CONTINUED: 165
MENDEZ Can't be right all the time.
NICHOLLS Mr. Harkins.
MENDEZ When'd you get back?
165A INT. HAGIA SOPHIA - LOWER LEVEL - DAY 165A
FIND Mendez and Nicholls.
MENDEZ Were you metal detecting?
NICHOLLS None left to find. Shah escaped with a 747 so laden with gold bars it nearly didn't make it off the runway.
MENDEZ But you kept busy.
NICHOLLS Ferrying out the torture apparatus of our friend's fallen dictatorship. Both these men do this work and share an unspoken understanding. They stop and look up at a MOSAIC on the wall. An ancient rendition of Christ, fashioned before the Muslims took the city and converted this church to a mosque. Nicholls has WHITE AND YELLOW SLIPS OF PAPER with Farsi writing on them in hand. He gives them to Tony.
NICHOLLS It's getting worse. Everybody who lands at Mehrabad now fills out one of these. (a WHITE one) That slip makes a copy to this one underneath. (a YELLOW one) Passenger keeps Yellow, Airport keeps White.
ARGO - Final 63.
165A CONTINUED: 165A
NICHOLLS (CONT'D) When you leave the country, they match them up to verify you came into the country when you said you did.
MENDEZ So if they look, they'll know six people didn't come in with me.
NICHOLLS If they look. Nicholls and Tony turn away from the mosaic, surreptitious work now done, and meander toward the middle of the great room.
166 INT. HAGIA SOPHIA - CONTINUOUS ACTION 166
Nicholls and Tony walk towards the inner courtyard.
NICHOLLS When you land, you should go straight to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to kiss the ring. Get on record as having applied for a film permit. If they catch you later, at least they'll be confused while they're torturing you... Your biggest problem may be convincing the six of them to go with you. They're foreign service. They're willful. Nicholls takes a picture.
MENDEZ How's June?
MENDEZ I'm sorry.
NICHOLLS She picked out a ring and gave me a choice. She's a Chinese national. If I married her, I'd have to resign, so. You and Christine?
MENDEZ Good. Yeah.
ARGO - Final 64.
166 CONTINUED: 166 He said that without hesitation. Maybe here we realize that Mendez is a very good liar.
166A EXT./INT. PRODUCERS' BUILDING - NIGHT 166A
Lester is BOUNCING A RUBBER BALL. The PRODUCER from later in the movie walks by.
PRODUCER You're working late.
SIEGEL ˜Til the dawn's early light.
PRODUCER You got stamina, Lester. I wanna be you.
SIEGEL You wouldn't be me for long. I'm
80. Producer walks away and Lester looks into the ˜Argo' office as he squeezes the ball. FROM INSIDE THE OFFICE -- In the foreground, we see what Lester is looking at: a phone. Stubbornly silent.
167 OMITTED 167
168 OMITTED 168
169 OMITTED 169
170 INT. BRITISH AIRWAYS DC-10 - MORNING 170
Mendez sits in a window seat. A FLIGHT ATTENDANT speaks with a pleasant British accent.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT (V.O.) The Captain has informed us that we have entered Iranian airspace. Members of our cabin crew will be coming through to collect any remaining alcoholic beverages at this time.
ARGO - Final 65.
171 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT TERMINAL - DAY 171
Mendez walks through the terminal of a crowded 1960s-era airport. Newly-hung portraits of the Ayatollah Khomeini watch over the duty-free shops.
SUPERIMPOSE: TEHRAN - JANUARY 26 The MOBS OF PEOPLE WITH BOXES OF THEIR WORLDLY BELONGINGS puts in high relief that Tony is going into a place that everyone else is desperately fleeing.
172 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT IMMIGRATION - DAY 172
Tony fills out a white form. It makes an impression on a YELLOW form. Tony presents his passport to a REVOLUTIONARY GUARD IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL. Official looks at it, Tony hears the sound of a woman screaming in Farsi. Three lanes away, at the outgoing immigration station, a Revolutionary Guard is dragging away the woman's HUSBAND. The Immigration Official stamps Tony's passport -- takes the white form, gives Tony the yellow one -- and waves him through.
173 EXT. TEHRAN - DAY 173
Archive footage may be mixed with new footage. Normal city life mixed with men with automatic weapons. The contradictions of Tehran at this moment.
173A EXT. TEHRAN - DAY 173A
A Massive HELICOPTER SHOT OF TEHRAN. We TILT DOWN to see a traffic jam SPRAWLS AROUND THE AZADI MONUMENT. Bikes, mopeds, pedestrians, peddlers and old, patched together cars compete for space. No one gets anywhere.
174 INT. TAXI - DAY 174
Mendez sits in the back of a taxi in the Tehran traffic, some of the worst traffic in the world. We see the AZADI MONUMENT out his window.
ANGLES OUT HIS WINDOWS The Ayatollah looks down from everywhere.
ARGO - Final 66.
174 CONTINUED: 174 A MAN IS HANGING FROM A CRANE. People mill underneath. Women in chadors at Kentucky Fried Chicken. An ARMED GANG in the back of pickup truck pulls up near his taxi. We see PROPAGANDA painted on a wall/window.
175 INT. TAXI/EXT. MINISTRY - DAY 175
The taxi pulls up to a FORMAL, PINK BUILDING. The Driver stops. They've arrived.
176 INT. MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND ISLAMIC GUIDANCE - DAY 176
MEHDI BEHROUZ, 33, is the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Like many of the stars of the Revolution, he was educated in the U.S. Right now he's looking at the ARGO script.
BEHROUZ This film crew is just yourself?
MENDEZ Six more are joining me today. They're coming from Canada.
BEHROUZ You'd like to film at the bazaar?
MENDEZ The bazaar, maybe the palace.
FRIENDLY) I see. The exotic Orient. Snake charmers and flying carpets.
(A BEAT) You come to us at a complicated time. Before the Revolution, 40 percent of the movie theaters in Tehran were showing pornography. Our function is purification as well as promotion of the arts.
(TAKES SCRIPT) I'll review for the Minister.
ARGO - Final 67.
177 EXT. CANADIAN EMBASSY - DAY 177
A TAXI pulls away. Mendez, carrying his luggage, stands at a wrought iron gate with MAPLE LEAVES worked into the iron. Ken Taylor comes out of the building, opens the gate himself.
MENDEZ Mr. Ambassador.
TAYLOR Ken Taylor. He shakes Tony's hand and they start to walk to Taylor's car.
TAYLOR I was expecting more of a G-Man look.
MENDEZ You're thinking of FBI, sir. They get into the car.
178 INT. TAYLOR'S CAR - OUTSIDE EMBASSY - CONTINUOUS ACTION 178
Taylor gives Tony SIX BLANK CANADIAN PASSPORTS.
TAYLOR These are blank, y'know. The stamps?
MENDEZ I'll take care of that.
TAYLOR How long?
MENDEZ A day to prep them with their cover stories. Two if they need it.
TAYLOR And you'll fly out with them? Tony nods. A distant sound of a crowd outside.
ARGO - Final 68.
178 CONTINUED: 178
TAYLOR There's something you should know. We think one of our housekeepers figured out who they are. We don't know if we can trust her. Now the noise outside is louder. Taylor turns to the window. Tony joins him.
TAYLOR So sooner is better. They stand listening to the demonstration sounds, echoing over the rooftops of the city.
179 OMITTED 179
179A INT. CIA - O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - NIGHT 179A
O'DONNELL He got to the embassy. O'Donnell closes the door. Pender, wearing an undone tuxedo, as if he's just been pulled from a formal event. They stay standing.
O'DONNELL I can't tell you more than that ˜cause I don't know any more.
PENDER (cutting to it) The Times and A.P. found out they're with the Canadians. Somebody in one of the families talked.
O'DONNELL Mother of God.
PENDER I just put Vance on a plane to take the editors to Le Cirque. He thinks he can get them to sit on it. For now.
(A BEAT) Your guy better get them and get the hell out.
ARGO - Final 69.
180 EXT. SHEMIRANAT (TEHRAN) - DAY 180
Ken Taylor drives up to a nice, but not huge, home in the expat/diplomatic neighborhood of Tehran. Automatic gates open.
181 EXT./INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DAY 181
Taylor leads Mendez inside. Pat Taylor waits for them in the hall. Takes Tony's hand.
182 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) - DAY 182
They enter the LIVING ROOM... and here are the SIX HOUSEGUESTS. They're looking at Mendez like kids waiting to be told the lesson plan.
183 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - 183
NIGHT Each Houseguest has a copy of the ARGO script.
BOB ANDERS It's theater of the absurd.
MARK LIJEK What are the chances?
MENDEZ The chances are good.
MARK LIJEK What's the number value of ˜good'? 30 percent chance of success? 80 percent?
CORA LIJEK We just --
BOB ANDERS What was the objection to picking normal cover identities?
MENDEZ There are no Canadians in the country for normal reasons.
KATHY STAFFORD MARK LIJEK They'll sniff us out The Swedish consul said regardless. they accused him of being an American at the airport and held him for an hour.
ARGO - Final 70.
183 CONTINUED: 183
BOB ANDERS We can't stand up to that. We don't know what the hell movie people do.
MENDEZ That's why I'm here. I'll be with you. This is what I do.
CORA LIJEK Have you gotten people out this way before?
MENDEZ This would be a first.
184 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - 184
THE HOUSEGUESTS -- minus J and Kathy Stafford, go into the living room. Mendez stays in his seat; J approaches him.
J STAFFORD KATHY STAFFORD Do you know that every ... J, don't. day...
J STAFFORD ... every day they catch another friend of the shah at the airport. Kangaroo trials then firing squads. Just for having American names in their phone books. He puts the Iranian newspaper in front of Mendez.
J STAFFORD You've been here an hour and you're asking us to trust you with our lives, Mr. --
J STAFFORD Is that your real name? A beat.
ARGO - Final 71.
184 CONTINUED: 184 J Stafford nods, as if this has proven a point. He gs back into the living room, followed by Kathy.
ANGLE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH in the Tehran Times. A MAN IN A SUIT at Mehrabad Airport. Terrified, being led out at gunpoint.
185 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - VERANDA - NIGHT 185
Mendez comes out and lights a cigarette. Ken Taylor is already there.
TAYLOR We've got orders to close the embassy and go back. There's nowhere for them to stay.
186 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - 186
J STAFFORD I'm serious, too. This is what?
BOB ANDERS J STAFFORD Don't do this, J... ... the part where we say, ˜That's so crazy it just might work'? C'mon...
BOB ANDERS I saw it in Burma. They get people out. They know how.
J STAFFORD Snitches in banana republics. They get them over the border after the coup...
BOB ANDERS J STAFFORD That's your opinion. ... pay the guards at the crossing a hundred bucks to look the other way...
MARK LIJEK His opinion got us out of the embassy in the first place.
ARGO - Final 72.
187 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - VERANDA - NIGHT 187
MENDEZ If we go, you need to leave immediately. There's a
TAYLOR Pat and I discussed it. If they catch you at the airport, they come here and we go on trial for harboring the enemy. It's a risk we took. (after a moment) Can you pull this off?
MENDEZ I don't know.
188 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - 188
J STAFFORD -- even if they do. They find us here, we're not lying, we're just hiding. We go out there with fake passports, we're spies, period, execution.
CORA LIJEK So how long do we stay? A month? A year?
J STAFFORD That man out there, he's got bad cards, he's gonna lose. If he loses, it's our lives.
KATHY STAFFORD (after a beat) And his life too. Another beat. ANGLES ON the Houseguests.
189 OMITTED 189
ARGO - Final 73.
189A INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - 189A
MENDEZ Your cover identities were created specifically for each one of you. Mendez, now dressed to leave, is handing each Houseguest an envelope.
MENDEZ What I need you to do is memorize everything inside. Who you are, what you are, where you've been. Cora Lijek looks at a document from inside her envelope. A union card for the Canadian Writers Guild with her picture on it.
MENDEZ When we're done, you'll know these so well that you'll dream as these people. Mendez nods at them, and gs. The Houseguests look at what's inside their envelopes -- all except J Stafford, whose envelope remains sealed.
190 INT. SHERATON HOTEL - NIGHT 190
A TELEFAX MACHINE spells out a message, letter by letter:
MR KEVIN HARKINS - CARE OF HOTEL SHERATON.
191 OMITTED 191
192 INT. SHERATON ROOM - NIGHT 192
Tony is PREPPING the CANADIAN PASSPORTS -- expertly copying Farsi stamps with a small sharpened stick. A KNOCK on the door. Tony hides the passports. Answers the door.
BELLHOP Sir, a telex arrived for you. The BELLHOP hands Tony a piece of paper. He reads it.
ARGO - Final 74.
193 INT. SHERATON ROOM - NIGHT 193
Mendez takes a small 1978 model radio out of his suitcase. He unscrews the casing and from inside takes out what looks like a 6-inch transistor board for the radio. On either side of the board: telephone jacks. He detaches the cords from the hotel phone and plugs them into the jacks on the transistor board. It's a phone scrambler.
MENDEZ (V.O.) ˜The Minister of Culture and Guidance has approved your location scout.'
194 INT. SHERATON ROOM - A FEW MINUTES LATER 194
Mendez, on the phone --
MENDEZ (reading the telefax) ˜He will send a representative to meet you and your crew at the Khayyam entrance to the Grand Bazaar tomorrow at 3 PM.'
195 INT. O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - NIGHT 195
O'Donnell on the phone.
O'DONNELL They called your bluff.
MENDEZ Or maybe they're cooperating.
O'DONNELL N.E. says absolutely not. Seven Americans walking the bazaar, you're asking for a riot, it's the
MENDEZ Seven Canadians, Jack.
O'DONNELL Never give them multiple shots at a cover. Are they even ready?
ARGO - Final 75.
195 CONTINUED: 195
MENDEZ They're getting there.
O'DONNELL Terrific. There's no prize for ˜Most Improved.'
(ESCALATING) I don't have a choice. We say no, they come to the residence and pull everyone out at gunpoint. How do you think the covers hold up with their fingernails pulled out?
196 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - KITCHEN - NIGHT 196
Mark Lijek is studying pages from the envelope Tony gave him. J Stafford is sitting near him, having a drink, watching Iranian State Television footage of the Ayatollah. J Stafford translates out loud.
J STAFFORD ˜We are a nation of 35 million and... many of these people are looking forward to martyrdom.˜ Kathy Stafford looks into the room. J stops talking, looks up.
(TO KATHY) Five minutes? He smiles at her. Kathy, who looks like she hasn't been sleeping, nods and leaves. J takes a drink. After a
J STAFFORD She pleaded with me. Mark, looking to J. This is new.
J STAFFORD When it started in the streets nine months ago. She begged for us to leave. She packed our bags. I said, ˜A little longer.' And what I was thinking was, ˜This is a good thing for me. Stay. Show Newsom you've got the balls. Grab for the ring.'
ARGO - Final 76.
196 CONTINUED: 196
J STAFFORD (CONT'D)
(A BEAT) I think we're gonna die here.
197 INT. KOMITEH HEADQUARTERS (AMIR ABAD DISTRICT) - DAY 197
The feeling here is dangerous. Young men carrying automatic weapons casually. Behrouz stands next to ALI KHALKALI, 30s, a Revolutionary Committee security official. There are RECONSTRUCTED
EMBASSY PICTURES ON THE WALL. We see the FAMOUS PICTURES OF THE HOSTAGES BEING MARCHED
DOWN THE STEPS.
197A INT. KOMITEH HEADQUARTERS STAIRWAY - CONTINUOUS ACTION 197A
A Kafka-esque stairway. We see a YOUNG KOMITEH call up from the bottom and head up the stairs. JUMP CUT TO: one flight to go. Now on the level WITH CAMERA, we carry him INTO the office as he hands off the ARGO script and STUDIO SIX BUSINESS CARD. Khalkali has some words in Farsi for the young man.
198 EXT. SHERATON BALCONY - MORNING 198
Tony looks at one of the Argo storyboards -- one depicting an EXOTIC SPICE MARKET, a BAZAAR -- in the light.
CORA LIJEK (V.O.) This isn't what we agreed to.
199 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - KEN'S OFFICE - 199
MORNING The Houseguests are gathered in the office. Cora hands the telefax to Bob Anders. J Stafford, looking on.
CORA LIJEK You said ˜a day to learn your covers then straight to the airport.' You said that.
BOB ANDERS They suspect something?
ARGO - Final 77.
199 CONTINUED: 199
MENDEZ What I know is we need to act like a movie crew. We go to the bazaar today, we fly out tomorrow. Silent assent among the group. Then J Stafford, sitting with his wife, speaks up --
J STAFFORD We won't do it.
MARK LIJEK He told them there were six of us. They're expecting six.
(TO MENDEZ) You are about to show the only card we're holding. Which is that they don't know we're here.
MENDEZ I'm asking you to trust me.
J STAFFORD I don't trust you.
BOB ANDERS (fed up, to J) What's the alternative? This is the ball game, J. What world are you living in?
J STAFFORD The one where they're hanging people from construction cranes, Bob. J takes Kathy's hand and gs, leaving Mendez with the others. After a moment --
(TO MENDEZ) So we'll see you at two?
200 INT. CARPET FACTORY - MORNING 200
A KOMITEH BOSS inspects the work of the CARPET WEAVER KIDS -- whose numbers have grown into the HUNDREDS -- as they labor quietly. Some HEADSHOTS are in various stages of repair.
ARGO - Final 78.
200 CONTINUED: 200 Dozens of documents are now complete, sitting on the floor in rows. Some pages from the EMBASSY MUG BOOK are now re-assembled. The boss picks one of the pages up: meticulously worked so that text and photos are now intact.
201 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DAY 201
PAT TAYLOR This one. She gives Bob Anders a Canadian maple leaf lapel pin, which he affixes to his shirt. Cora Lijek paints lighter hair dye onto her hair. The Houseguests are making subtle efforts to disguise themselves.
CORA LIJEK (at a mirror, quoting
INSTRUCTIONS) So don't be recognizable, but look exactly like your passport picture.
MARK LIJEK Not that picture. You won't want to scare them. A nervous smile. Trying to deal with anxiety. J and Kathy Stafford look to each other. Sitting reading newspapers while the other Houseguests prep for the scout. The PHONE starts ringing.
PAT TAYLOR (answering the phone) Hello? A cloud comes over Pat as she listens.
PAT TAYLOR No, there's no one like that here. She hangs up the phone fast, as if it were hot to the touch.
BOB ANDERS Who was it? Pat shakes her head.
ON J STAFFORD listening. Kathy takes his hand.
ARGO - Final 79.
201 CONTINUED: 201
(TO J) Somebody knows.
202 INT. SHERATON ROOM - DAY 202
Tony getting dressed. Thinking. He gets up and leaves, and we start to hear the sound of a man talking fast in Farsi.
203 EXT. CAR RENTAL - DAY 203
It's a CAR RENTAL MAN, 60s, speaking. Tony is looking at a MINIVAN on a lot of beaten-up rental cars.
MENDEZ This one, how much? One day, how much?
204 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DAY 204
Four of the Houseguests are waiting on the couch, dressed in their best approximation of the clothes of a movie scout crew. Cora has the maple leaf flag pin on her shirt. They turn when they see Tony come in the door. Tony as he steps down into the living room, down the hall
205 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - KITCHEN - DAY 205
... to find J Stafford sitting at the table. They are badly shaken.
MENDEZ I promise you that if you will play along today, I will get you out tomorrow.
J STAFFORD I wish I could believe you, Mr. Harkins.
MENDEZ My name is Tony Mendez. Mendez gs back out to the minivan. STAY WITH J and Kathy.
ARGO - Final 80.
206 INT. MINIVAN - DAY 206
Mendez, in the driver's seat, looks at the house, then at his watch. He starts up the van, filled with four of the Houseguests. Then he looks in the rearview and sees one of the back doors open. J and Kathy Stafford board.
207 EXT. TEHRAN - DAY 207
Tony drives the minivan through streets of Tehran. The Houseguests sit in silence, looking out the windows. There is a vehement DEMONSTRATION going on -- stars-and- stripes burning in Molavi Square -- and it's taking place right in their way. They stop at the demonstration, then realize people aren't passing by as much as celebrating in the street. Tony is forced to nose his way through the crowd -- chanting and yelling -- some SLAPPING THE WINDOWS. They finally get through and pull away. With the demonstration receding behind them, Tony tries to regain their focus.
MENDEZ Tell me who you are. This recalls attention from the windows.
LEE SCHATZ Mike McEwan, cameraman.
BOB ANDERS Robert Baker, director.
MARK LIJEK Timothy Harris, location manager.
CORA LIJEK Mary Ann Boyd, screenwriter.
KATHY STAFFORD Rachel Dewart, production designer. Kathy looks at her husband.
J STAFFORD Sean Bissett, associate producer.
MENDEZ Let's make a movie.
ARGO - Final 81.
208 EXT. STREET NEAR THE BAZAAR - DAY 208
The minivan double-parks on Musavi Street. Taxis, men loading and unloading rolled-up carpets onto pickup trucks, chaos. A YOUNG MAN IN SUIT WITH NO TIE waits. This is REZA, mid- 20s, a low-level administrator in the Ministry of Guidance. Mendez gets out and they speak and shake hands. The image FREEZES. In a BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPH. They exchange pleasantries and Reza leads them down a narrow street toward the bazaar.
209 EXT./INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR - DAY 209
Reza is leading Mendez and the group of Houseguests through the Tehran Bazaar. A word about the place: the world's largest bazaar. 10 kilometers of narrow alleys. Chinese-made Swiss watches, banks, mosques, butchers, fabric stores, gold stands. Boys with hand-trucks loaded down with piles of fabric cut through the crowd. Older Islamic architecture elbows up against neon signs and rickety wooden stands with second-story balconies like Bourbon Street. Bob Anders walks toward the front.
REZA You are the director?
BOB ANDERS Yes.
(PLEASANT) Is this film a foreign bride film?
BOB ANDERS I'm sorry?
REZA A film where a foreign bride is brought to Iran, but she dsn't understand the language and customs and there are misunderstandings and laughs.
BOB ANDERS No.
ARGO - Final 82.
209 CONTINUED: 209
REZA (not happy with that) Mmmm. Mendez walking toward the back of the group. Lee, the cameraman, is looking through a viewfinder down the alley of the bazaar.
LEE SCHATZ (not looking up) Yeh.
MENDEZ If I said you were looking through the wrong end of that viewfinder, would I be right? Lee turns the viewfinder around and looks through it again.
LEE SCHATZ Yep.
ANGLE Mendez talking to Lee from a distance. A zoom, a closer snapshot of LEE. Then of CORA LIJEK, who walks through the bazaar with an open ARGO SCRIPT in her hand. The Revolutionary Guard photographer is taking pictures of each of the Houseguests, picking their portraits off one by one like a sniper.
210 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) - DAY 210
Two sedans turn onto the property and head up the driveway. Ali Khalkali, the revolutionary official, gets out of one of the cars. He's joined by a couple other OFFICIALS and by two armed REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS. Sahar is moving through the garden, she sees the men approach. She gs to greet them at the gate.
SAHAR (Farsi, from behind
THE GATE) Yes?
ARGO - Final 83.
211 OMITTED 211
212 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR - DAY 212
Reza leads Mendez and the Houseguests deeper into this city within a city; fundamentalist ground zero. BAZAARIS stand at their shop doors; puzzled; unfriendly; watching the visitors. Kathy Stafford, the production designer on the scout, takes a Polaroid of a window adorned in gold. The SHOPKEEPER, a 70-ish bazaari, sees her do so. He hurries out of his store, speaking in rapid-fire Farsi at her. The Houseguests stop. Reza speaks to the Shopkeeper.
(TO KATHY) He wants the photograph you took.
MENDEZ She's the production designer. Her job is to take photographs. SHOPKEEPER getting more and more heated in Farsi.
REZA He says he did not give you permission to take a photograph of his store. Other BAZAARIS and SHOPPERS are starting to gather. Kathy holds out the Polaroid toward the Shopkeeper.
KATHY STAFFORD He can have the photograph. Tell
HIM -- The Shopkeeper knocks the Polaroid out of her hand.
213 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - ENTRANCE - 213
(FARSI) When did they arrive?
(FARSI) I'm sorry?
ARGO - Final 84.
213 CONTINUED: 213
(FARSI) The guests of the ambassador. How long have they been in this house?
214 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR - DAY 214
People are now starting to surround Mendez and Reza and the Houseguests. Bazaaris more and more heated. Women in chadors are screaming and finger-pointing.
(IN ENGLISH) America NO!... NO! Then he speaks in Farsi and makes shooting gestures with his hand.
LEE SCHATZ (quiet, to Mendez) He's saying the Shah killed his son with an American gun. Cauldron heating up and --
215 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - ENTRANCE - 215
DAY ON Sahar -- her face impassive -- and then --
(FARSI) Two days. They arrived two days ago. Khalkali looks to the other Officials.
216 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR - ANGLE ON MORE AND MORE BAZAARIS - 216
DAY A CROWD starts to gather around the group.
ON KATHY Her claustrophobia as the crowd closes in -- an ANGRY BAZAARI WOMAN sticks her finger in Kathy's face --
CORA LIJEK (to one of the women) Canada... Ca-na-da...
ARGO - Final 85.
216 CONTINUED: 216 She's showing a Canadian flag, Bob Anders' lapel button --
LEE SCHATZ (quiet; to Mendez) He says we're the CIA taking photographs to plan the bombing of the city.
217 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - ENTRANCE - 217
DAY Khalkali eyes Sahar, gauging her. She hides her fear well.
(FARSI) Sister, those who are with him, Rasool of Allah, we are tender among ourselves.
(BEAT) But stern against the kuffar.
SAHAR As god wills it.
(QUOTING MOSSADEGH) But those who sit silently have sinned. Ds he know? Ds he not know? Is he trying to trick her? His opacity makes it impossible to know. He holds his look to her -- and she holds hers.
218 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR - DAY 218
Reza indicates an exit to the street.
219 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - ENTRANCE - 219
DAY -- and Sahar, so dignified and stony she is almost shaming these men --
SAHAR Everyone in this house is a friend of Iran. Khalkali makes his decision. He wordlessly turns to go.
ARGO - Final 86.
220 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR - DAY 220
The CROWD heckles the Houseguests as they walk toward the exit.
221 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - FOYER - DAY 221
Sahar calmly closes the door. After she ds, she lets the facade go. All of a sudden scared. Maybe she tears up. Either way, it's clear she knows the stakes of the game she is playing.
222 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - AFTERNOON 222
The aftermath. The Houseguests, badly shaken, come inside. Each dealing with shock and adrenaline. Ken Taylor comes up next to Mendez and, for once, Taylor's ambassadorial calm is breaking.
TAYLOR They drew you out there to take your picture.
MENDEZ Nobody broke. At the door to the residence, Tony can see Pat Taylor, holding Sahar's hand, both looking spooked as the Houseguests come inside.
(SOBERED NOW) And tomorrow? A beat on Mendez, who stamps out his cigarette and follows.
MENDEZ Tomorrow they'll be ready. We start to hear the sound of the evening's call to prayer, amplified over a megaphone, in the distance.
223-224 OMITTED 223-224
ARGO - Final 87.
224A MONTAGE - EXT. TEHRAN - DUSK 224A
The call to prayer echoing as night falls in Tehran. In an alley where cloaked women hurry past posters of Khomeini. On a street where a five-year-old boy, in the care of his eight-year-old brother, watches a pickup truck of armed komiteh speed past.
224B INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 224B
Mendez holds a passport and some papers in front of Bob Anders' face. It feels late. The Houseguests are tired, sweating, sitting around a dining room. Mendez, sleeves rolled up, drilling them. The ARGO STORYBOARDS are scattered around the room.
MENDEZ Where was your passport issued? Bob Anders dsn't know. ANGLES ON the Houseguests.
MENDEZ Where were you born?
BOB ANDERS Toronto.
MENDEZ Toronno like piranha. Canadians don't pronounce the T.
LEE SCHATZ Some border guard's gonna know that?
MENDEZ If you're held for questioning, they'll bring in somebody who knows that.
MENDEZ (to Cora Lijek) Last three Canadian prime minsters.
CORA LIJEK (an A student) Trudeau, Pearson, Diefenbaker.
ARGO - Final 88.
224B CONTINUED: 224B
MENDEZ Good. (to J Stafford) Your job on the film.
J STAFFORD Producer.
MENDEZ Associate Producer. What's the name of the last film you worked on?
J STAFFORD Uh... High and Dry.
MENDEZ Who paid for the movie?
MENDEZ What's your middle name? J Stafford is silent. He looks down to consult the paper in front of him, but before he can, Mendez pulls the paper.
MENDEZ He's an American spy. Shoot him. A beat on Stafford, frustrated --
MENDEZ They'll try to break you by getting you agitated. You need to know your rÃ©sumÃ© so well that you don't flinch.
J STAFFORD (nearly defeated,
LOOKING AWAY) You think your little story will matter when there's guns to our heads?
MENDEZ My story's the only thing between you and the gun to your head. A beat. Mendez puts the rÃ©sumÃ© back in front of Stafford. Kathy looks at her husband: he just isn't good at this.
ARGO - Final 89.
224B CONTINUED: (2) 224B
MENDEZ Let's go again.
224C INT. CIA - THE PIT - AFTERNOON 224C
O'Donnell, walking toward his office. It's the first time today Malinov has seen him.
(GOOD NEWS) They made it through the location scout. O'Donnell ignores him. He gs straight to his office. Looking like he's seen a ghost.
224D EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - VERANDA - NIGHT 224D
Mendez, finishing a cigarette outside. We might hear the distant sound of a phone ringing. Ken Taylor emerges. Waits a beat.
224E INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - KEN TAYLOR'S 224E
OFFICE - CROSS-CUTTING - NIGHT Mendez picks up the complicated-looking satellite phone in Ken Taylor's home office. As soon as he ds --
O'DONNELL Go to black on green. Jack's calling him here, so he knows something's wrong.
MENDEZ What is it?
O'DONNELL Go to black on green. Mendez turns knobs on the satellite phone.
224F INT. O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - CROSS-CUTTING - AFTERNOON 224F
We see Jack is on a GREEN PHONE.
ARGO - Final 90.
224F CONTINUED: 224F
O'DONNELL It all just changed. They called the game. You've got to come back. ON Mendez, not believing what he's hearing.
O'DONNELL (quiet, fast, clear) Joint Chiefs are planning a military rescue of the hostages in a month. Delta Force started training to storm the grounds. So if the six of them get brought down there, they won't be held for long.
MENDEZ I never would have exposed them if I wasn't authorized to take them out.
O'DONNELL It's over, Tony.
MENDEZ They will be taken. Probably not
O'DONNELL LISTEN TO ME. The thinking's changed. Six Americans get pulled out of a Canadian diplomat's house and executed, it's another world outrage. Six Americans get caught playing movie make-believe with the CIA at the airport and executed, it's a national embarrassment. They're calling the operation.
MENDEZ We're responsible for those people.
(GENUINELY SAD) What we are is required to follow orders. I'm sorry. Mendez hangs up. O'Donnell sits listening to the dial tone for a moment, then puts the phone on the receiver.
ARGO - Final 91.
224F CONTINUED: (2) 224F Then, very suddenly, he looks at an old coffee cup near him and backhands it off his desk.
TIME CUT TO:
224G INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - KEN TAYLOR'S 224G
OFFICE - NIGHT Maybe only a minute, maybe ten or more have passed. Mendez sits at Taylor's desk, numb. Cora Lijek knocks but dsn't get a response. She tentatively opens the door and sticks her head inside.
CORA LIJEK We're ready to try again.
MENDEZ (after a beat) I think the most important thing you can do to be ready for tomorrow is rest.
TIME CUT TO:
225 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - 225
NIGHT Now the mood among the Houseguests is lighter. Bob Anders, a handful of liquor bottles in his arms, puts them down on a table. Music plays on a record player.
BOB ANDERS Scorched earth policy tonight. Nothing gets left. Taylor comes in, drink in hand, thoughts heavy, looks at Tony.
MENDEZ So you know.
(NODS) ExtAff wants you to burn the passports before you leave. Mendez looks at the Houseguests, setting the table.
TAYLOR If we tell them, they'll panic. It's better if you just don't show.
ARGO - Final 92.
225 CONTINUED: 225
TAYLOR (CONT'D) It was always a fucked mission. You came closer than anybody else. Kathy and Cora are cracking each other up. No one sees Mendez take a bottle of Macallan from the table and put it in his bag.
226 INT. CAR - NIGHT 226
Mendez drives through nighttime Tehran, back to the hotel. There is a dangling TOTEM from the rearview mirror. It reflects light. He passes a VAN ON FIRE.
227 OMITTED 227
228 INT. SHERATON ROOM - NIGHT 228
Mendez takes the bottle of Macallan from his bag. He takes a drink, then drinks more.
229 OMITTED 229
230 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - DAY 230
Chambers, listening on a phone, shakes his head at Siegel. He hangs up.
CHAMBERS It's off. They want us to pack up the office. A beat on Lester. He's devastated but he's not showing it.
SIEGEL They can wait. Let's go get a drink.
231 EXT. TEHRAN - DAWN 231
The city waking up.
ARGO - Final 93.
232 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DAWN 232
The Houseguests, getting dressed. Suiting up for the airport. Ken Taylor watches in the hall.
233 INT. SHERATON ROOM - DAWN 233
Mendez -- who looks like he hasn't slept -- sits at a table, looking out the window.
234 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DAWN 234
Lee Schatz puts his Infant of Prague holy card into an Argo script. Packs the script. Cora Lijek is sitting next to her husband. Kathy Stafford looks at the clock.
KATHY STAFFORD (to J Stafford) He's late.
235 EXT. SHERATON BALCONY - DAWN 235
Tony comes out to the balcony with a hotel ice bucket in one hand and the Canadian passports in the other. He puts the passports in the bucket, LIGHTS A MATCH. He looks down at the match, at the passports. The first stirring of the morning calls-to-prayer echo in the distance. HOLD for a long beat ON Tony. Thinking. Then, HE BLOWS OUT THE MATCH.
236 INT. O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - NIGHT 236
O'Donnell is packing up for the night. Paper towels sit on top of the coffee spill on his rug. His phone rings. He picks up.
ARGO - Final 94.
237 INT. SHERATON ROOM - DAWN 237
MENDEZ Somebody is responsible for things when things happen, Jack. I am responsible.
(A BEAT) I'm taking them through. And before Jack can answer, Tony hangs up. Stands. A duffel bag over his shoulder, Tony turns out the light in the hotel room. Gs.
238 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) - O'DONNELL'S OFFICE - NIGHT 238
O'Donnell, thinking. Looking at the phone. Then, with a sudden decision, he gets up. Rushing out of his office, into --
239 INT. CIA - THE PIT - NIGHT 239
-- where he catches ALAN SOSA, 50s, head of the Directorate of Support -- the CIA's chief financial officer -- leaving for the night.
O'DONNELL We need to confirm those seven tickets out of Tehran on
SOSA N.E. shut that down.
O'DONNELL I'm saying it's back on!
SOSA I can't do it. It's backstopped pending Executive Branch GO.
O'DONNELL What the fuck ds that mean?
SOSA Carter's got to say yes for us to get the tickets.
240 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DAWN 240
Pat Taylor comes to answer an insistent knocking on her front door. She opens it.
ARGO - Final 95.
240 CONTINUED: 240 She's shocked to see him. Ken Taylor now appears behind Pat. In the hall behind him: The Houseguests are assembled, waiting to go. They look their parts -- or, much more so than they did on the scout. Cora Lijek has darker hair. The Staffords look on, fully dressed.
241 INT. OUTSIDE ENGELL'S OFFICE - NIGHT 241
O'DONNELL Where's Engell?
SECRETARY He's in a meeting.
O'DONNELL Pull him out. (as she hesitates)
PULL HIM OUT!
242 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - DAWN 242
Pat Taylor is embracing the Houseguests, saying goodbye.
PAT TAYLOR Sahar's on a bus.
MENDEZ Good. And you two leave right now. Ken Taylor nods. Mendez shakes his hand.
243 INT./EXT. MINIVAN - DAWN 243
Mendez gets into the driver's seat. Lee Schatz on the passenger side. We see Ken's black embassy sedan waiting, driven by a
PAKISTANI DRIVER. Mendez pulls away.
243A INT. KEN'S OFFICE - LATER 243A
Ken Taylor watches a SGT. CLAUDE GAUTHIER, 30s, Canadian military policeman, use a sledgehammer to SMASH
EVERYTHING IN THE OFFICE TO PIECES. Pat Taylor comes to the door. She's holding a suitcase.
ARGO - Final 96.
243A CONTINUED: 243A
TAYLOR (to Gauthier, as he
LEAVES) Get to your flight.
244 INT. OUTSIDE ENGELL'S OFFICE - NIGHT 244
ENGELL N.E. said NO, this is not a long- leasher...
O'DONNELL ENGELL ... watching a show behind ... and it never has been, a one-way whorehouse YOU don't decide if it mirror... gs...
O'DONNELL It is going.
ENGELL You're goddamn close...
O'DONNELL Am I goddamn close?
ENGELL You're goddamn close to the line with me.
(INTERRUPTING) I'm not leaving him at the airport with six people and his dick in his hand. Tell the Director to call the White House. DO YOUR
FUCKING JOB. Engell just stares O'Donnell down.
245 INT./EXT. MINIVAN - MORNING 245
The van speeds down the hills of the Shemiran district.
MENDEZ (V.O.) The first checkpoint is just to look at your passport.
246 FLASHBACK - INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 246
Mendez is sitting in the living room instructing the Houseguests.
ARGO - Final 97.
246 CONTINUED: 246
MENDEZ Your passports came straight from the Canadians, so you're gonna be fine.
247 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) - THE PIT - NIGHT (A MOMENT LATER) 247
(PRESENT) O'Donnell, charging in --
O'DONNELL Where's the Director?
MALINOV He's on the plane.
O'DONNELL Find White House Chief of Staff.
MALINOV How would I find him?
O'DONNELL We're a fucking SPY AGENCY! FIND
248 FLASHBACK - INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 248
MENDEZ The second checkpoint --
249 INT. CIA - THE PIT - NIGHT (PRESENT) 249
MALINOV Jordan's in the West Wing. He's not taking calls. A beat on O'Donnell.
O'DONNELL Where are his kids?
O'DONNELL Where do his kids go to school?
250 FLASHBACK - INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 250
He gives out yellow immigration forms to the Houseguests.
ARGO - Final 98.
250 CONTINUED: 250
MENDEZ The second is immigration. You'll hand them these. They say you landed two days ago.
251 INT. MINIVAN - MORNING (PRESENT) 251
Cora Lijek fingers her yellow immigration form in one hand, holds Mark's hand with the other.
MENDEZ (V.O.) These guys are bureaucrats left over from the shah. They can't be bothered to second-guess you.
252 INT. CIA - THE PIT - NIGHT 252
Malinov slams a phone down.
MALINOV Pace Academy in Buckhead, Georgia! O'Donnell dials a number.
O'DONNELL Yes, it's Mr. Murphy calling from Pace Academy for Mr. Jordan... I'm afraid it IS an emergency...
253 INT. WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR ROOM - NIGHT 253
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR Hold just a moment. She plugs a wire into an old-fashioned Ma Bell switchboard.
MENDEZ (V.O.) Third checkpoint is the trap.
254 INT. MINIVAN - MORNING 254
The van pulls up to the airport. We see THRONGS of people trying to get in -- so they can get out. Tony pulls the car to a semi-open place and tries not to run anyone over.
ARGO - Final 99.
255 FLASHBACK - INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - NIGHT 255
MENDEZ It's manned by Revolutionaries. Most of them were educated in the U.S. or Europe.
BOB ANDERS Or Canada?
MENDEZ They know how many ˜T's are in Toronto.
256 INT. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF OFFICE - NIGHT (PRESENT) 256
Jordan is in a meeting with two staffers, his feet up on the desk. His secretary opens the door without knocking, hurries to Jordan, whispers something in his ear. He immediately grabs the phone.
O'DONNELL (V.O.) Jack O'Donnell from C.I.
JORDAN Wait -- WHO -- ?
O'DONNELL (V.O.) Tehran Houseguest operation is ready NOW. We don't have the President's go-ahead. They are going to be captured. Jordan stands up with the phone.
JORDAN (yelling out his
DOOR) DAVID! Pick up!
257 INT. KOMITEH HQ - MORNING 257
The office we visited earlier. A YOUNG KOMITEH comes up the stairs again. This time, he's RUNNING.
ARGO - Final 100.
257 CONTINUED: 257 KHALKALI, the fiery guy who came to the residence, along with two YOUNG KOMITEH compare (one who delivered the pictures): on one side, copies of re-assembled diplomatic photographs of Americans from the embassy -- like the ones of the Houseguests we saw early in the film -- and, on the other side, the candid photographs from the bazaar.
258 INT. CIA - THE PIT - NIGHT 258
LAMONT Telex on Flash. The telex begins to print, line by line...
EYES ONLY -- OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES -- HOLLYWOOD OPTION APPROVED -- GOOD LUCK. ( Carter White House telex, 1/29/1980.)
O'DONNELL Copy D.S.! Confirm the tickets!
259 INT. SWISSAIR COUNTER (MEHRABAD) - MORNING 259
Mendez's and the Houseguests' passports sit on the counter.
SWISSAIR REP I'm sorry, sir. I don't have those reservations... SWISSAIR REP looks at some green text on her screen, hits another button.
SWISSAIR REP My apologies. They just came through. She hits another button and tickets start to print.
260 INT. CIA - THE PIT - NIGHT 260
MALINOV (to O'Donnell) Swissair says they've picked up the tickets.
O'DONNELL Get the L.A. office -- tell them to be ready in case they call.
ARGO - Final 101.
260 CONTINUED: 260
MALINOV We told them to shut that down! He RUNS toward a phone --
261 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - FIRST CHECKPOINT - MORNING 261
The PASSPORT OFFICIAL is looking at the Canadian passports of the six and waving them through. Mendez has already passed. Everyone except Kathy Stafford. The Passport Official looks at Kathy, who is doing her best to look friendly and casual. Then he looks at Kathy's passport, in which she looks stern and angry. Kathy Stafford smoothes down her hair, frowns like she ds in the passport photo. The Passport Official half smiles and waves her through. They've all cleared the first checkpoint.
262 INT. KOMITEH HQ - MORNING 262
Khalkali comes upon a diplomatic photograph of a man with glasses. He starts to leaf through the photographs from the bazaar.
QUICK CUT TO:
263 EXT. BAZAAR - POV OF THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARD PHOTOGRAPHER 263
- DAY Mark Lijek being photographed at the bazaar the previous day.
QUICK CUT BACK TO:
264 INT. KOMITEH HQ - MORNING 264
KHALKALI -- looks at the black and white still of Mark Lijek, compares it to his diplomatic picture, the first portrait we saw of Mark toward the beginning of the film. MATCH. Khalkali stands up. SHOUTS in Farsi to another Komiteh --
ARGO - Final 102.
265 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - SECOND CHECKPOINT - MORNING 265
Bob Anders stands in front of a rough-voiced IMMIGRATION OFFICER. He's holding Bob Anders' YELLOW IMMIGRATION FORM and leafing through a file of hundreds of WHITE IMMIGRATION FORMS, the duplicates. Without success.
IMMIGRATION OFFICER #2 (in Farsi; to Officer #1, re: his own
WHITE PILE) Nothing.
IMMIGRATION OFFICER (to Bob Anders) When did you say you arrived in Iran?
BOB ANDERS Two days ago.
IMMIGRATION OFFICER What was the purpose of your visit?
BOB ANDERS We were looking at locations to make a film. I'm the director. Immigration Officer pauses and looks up. Looks at the six other faces. He looks every bit as confrontational as Tony acted in rehearsal.
(VERY CALM) We have a letter from the Minister of Culture ... The Immigration Officer gestures for the letter. Bob takes the letter inviting them on their location scout out of a folder. Tony, barely perceptibly, nods.
266 INT. KOMITEH HQ - MORNING 266
Khalkali is now speaking with MORADI, an older Komiteh official. They speak Farsi and it's untranslated, but we get it. He is showing the photograph of Mark Lijek from the bazaar and comparing it to the U.S. diplomatic photograph. Moradi picks up the phone as Khalkali heads out.
ARGO - Final 103.
267 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - SECOND CHECKPOINT - MORNING 267
Immigration Officer is conferring with Immigration Officer #2 as they look at the letter from the Minister of Culture. The Houseguests and Mendez wait. Finally, Immigration Officer #2 shrugs.
IMMIGRATION OFFICER Okay -- Yes -- Okay -- He waves them through. Second checkpoint done.
268 INT. CIA - THE PIT - NIGHT 268
Malinov, a phone to his ear. Ringing.
MALINOV C'mon c'mon c'mon --
269 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - NIGHT 269
The phone in the office rings. No one is there.
270 EXT. WARNER BROS. STUDIOS - NIGHT 270
Siegel and Chambers are walking back to the Argo office. They are within sight of the Argo bungalow, but a P.A. steps in front of them.
P.A. (a stage whisper) I'm sorry, we're shooting. He motions for them to wait. A movie -- it looks like a police procedural -- is shooting on the lot between them and the office.
271 INT. AIRPORT GATE - MORNING 271
ANNOUNCEMENT (V.O.) Swissair announces general boarding for Flight 363 to Zurich. Passengers, mostly European businessmen, get up and approach the gate.
ARGO - Final 104.
272 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - THIRD CHECKPOINT - MORNING 272
Mendez checks in with the Houseguests with his eyes. They are now in sight of the airport gates. And here are six Komiteh. Young men -- none more than 33 or so -- holding automatic weapons. They have created their own checkpoint. It looks recent,
A SCREENED-OFF AREA WITH TABLES.
KOMITEH #1 Passports. He looks at the Canadian passports and then almost immediately speaks.
KOMITEH #1 You come. He directs Mendez and the Houseguests into the screened- off area. Speaks in Farsi to another Komiteh.
273 INT. CIA - THE PIT - NIGHT 273
LAMONT (holding the phone) Purser's telling Swissair they're not on the plane.
O'DONNELL They should have boarded already.
MALINOV (on another phone) Still no answer in L.A.
274 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - THIRD CHECKPOINT - MORNING 274
MARK LIJEK A film. Mark mimes turning the rotor of a movie camera. Komiteh #1 dsn't understand.
AZIZI (O.S.) Sit down. A young man with a beard -- AZIZI, late 20s -- arriving on the scene, speaking in Farsi to the others and then in very good American English. He looks at the six and the face he singles out is J Stafford's.
ARGO - Final 105.
274 CONTINUED: 274
AZIZI (harsh, icy; in
FARSI) You. You had no business in Iran. He motions for J STAFFORD to step forward. Mendez shifts. A tense moment.
(FARSI) We did. We were preparing to make a movie here, sir.
(FARSI) You don't have journalist visas.
(FARSI) Not a documentary. A movie. J Stafford reaches into his pocket and gives Azizi a copy of the Argo Variety ad.
(FARSI) You see? (to Mendez; English) Kevin, where's your briefcase? A beat on Mendez. Who then opens his accordion folder and takes from it the ARGO STORYBOARDS. J Stafford spreads them out on the table. Three other Komiteh in the room lean forward, their AUTOMATIC WEAPONS at their sides, and look at the STORYBOARD DRAWINGS. The Persian Empire futurism of Jack Kirby's drawings.
(FARSI) These are the villains. Y'see these guys here? And these are the hers... in the spice market... J Stafford points at the various drawings. He speaks with an ease and confidence that we didn't know he had.
(FARSI) They know our hero is the Chosen One, so they kidnap his son in the spice market ... They have these chariots... like this one...
ARGO - Final 106.
274 CONTINUED: (2) 274
J STAFFORD (CONT'D) they go like this... whoooosh, hmm? They can fly... The people are just farmers, but they rise up and find their courage and defeat the alien king-- Mendez watches. It's a performance. The three young Komiteh are now wide-eyed, pointing, whispering in Farsi, like teenagers around a comic book. Azizi says something to another Komiteh in the room.
AZIZI (to J Stafford; in
ENGLISH) You don't go until we verify.
MENDEZ You can call our office. Mendez hands Azizi his card. STUDIO SIX FILMS. Kevin Harkins. A 213 (818 wasn't around yet) phone number.
ANGLES ON THE HOUSEGUESTS as Azizi leaves the room with the business card and three young Komiteh barely look up from the drawings --
275 EXT. WARNER BROS. STUDIOS - NIGHT 275
P.A., still holding Chambers and Siegel. The ACTOR playing the cop is conferring with the director. He's not happy with something. They're holding everyone until the next take, and --
P.A. Going again please! We're
276 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - MORNING 276
A PICKUP TRUCK with 5 Komiteh -- including Khalkali -- automatic weapons out -- drives up to the Canadian Ambassador's residence.
277 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - KOMITEH STATION - MORNING 277
Azizi, who apparently has some authority here, enters, telling another Komiteh in Farsi to get off the phone.
ARGO - Final 107.
277 CONTINUED: 277 Azizi looks at the Studio Six business card and picks up the receiver.
278 EXT. WARNER BROS. STUDIOS - NIGHT 278
SIEGEL I'm sorry, pally. We're just gonna be in the movie. Call my agent.
P.A. Sir. SIR! Siegel and Chambers walk through the shot toward the Argo office.
279 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - KOMITEH STATION - MORNING 279
Azizi dials the long international number. And it is a DIAL, so this takes a long time.
280 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - THIRD CHECKPOINT - MORNING 280
One of the young Komiteh is loudly debating with another Komiteh the air-worthiness of a futuristic desert glider in the storyboards. He's miming the thing crashing. J Stafford and the Houseguests are silent. Mendez can see the line of passengers on their Swissair flight dwindling.
281 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - KOMITEH STATION - MORNING 281
Azizi rings the phone three times -- four times -- he's going to hang up --
CHAMBERS (V.O.) (out of breath) Studio Six Films.
282 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - NIGHT 282
A beat of silence. Chambers catching his breath, listening. The door to the office wide open.
283 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - KOMITEH STATION - MORNING 283
AZIZI May I speak to Mr. Kevin Harkins --
ARGO - Final 108.
283 CONTINUED: 283
CHAMBERS (V.O.) He's out of the country on a location scout. Can I take a message?
284 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - NIGHT 284
Chambers listens for a response. Siegel now catches up.
285 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - KOMITEH STATION - MORNING 285
AZIZI No message.
286 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - MORNING 286
ANNOUNCEMENT (V.O.) Swissair announces final boarding of Flight 363 to Zurich. All passengers should be at the gate at this time.
287 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - MORNING 287
Khalkali and Komiteh are forcing the front door of the house open.
288 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - THIRD CHECKPOINT - MORNING 288
Azizi comes back into the screened-off area. Looks at J Stafford, then at Mendez. Then says something in Farsi to the three Komiteh in the holding area. Then he leaves. The three young Komiteh look at the drawings, then at J Stafford. Silence for a moment.
THEM) Our gift to you. From our film. Komiteh #1, who speaks enough English to understand, translates to the others. They forget their revolutionary mission for a second, happy with their gift. They'd high-five if they could. They're kids. Komiteh #1 motions for the Houseguests to go.
ARGO - Final 109.
289 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - FOYER - MORNING 289
Khalkali and a dozen Komiteh, guns drawn, rush into the residence. Empty liquor bottles. The remains of what looks like breakfast for a group of people. But the place is empty.
290 INT./EXT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - FLIGHT GATE - MORNING 290
A BUSLOAD of passengers about to be ferried to the airplane. A Swissair Rep is closing the gate to Flight 363. She looks up to see the Houseguests and Mendez hurrying through the terminal, headed toward her. She holds the gate, speaks in German into a walkie, and --
291 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE - KEN'S OFFICE - 291
MORNING The Komiteh search the house. Khalkali gets on the phone.
292 OMITTED 292
293 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - FLIGHT GATE - MORNING 293
Kathy Stafford's ticket is taken and she walks through the door. Hurries toward the transport bus. The other five Houseguests and Mendez behind her and --
294 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - KOMITEH STATION - MORNING 294
A phone rings and a Young Komiteh picks up the call. He listens for a moment. Then he drops the phone and RUNS into the airport terminal and --
295 INT. RUNWAY TRANSPORT BUS - MORNING 295
The Houseguests sit aboard the bus, headed to a waiting
DC-10. The DRIVER puts the bus into gear. It dsn't go. He shakes his head. This goddamn thing. Shifts gears again. Now it gs.
ARGO - Final 110.
296 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - MORNING 296
Young Komiteh RUNNING through the terminal, pushing through a crowd, making a woman drop her suitcase, contents scattering. An automatic weapon at his side.
297 EXT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MORNING 297
The Houseguests head up the stairs to the plane.
298 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - FLIGHT GATE - MORNING 298
Azizi and the three Komiteh from the third checkpoint stand up from the table with the Argo storyboards. Young Komiteh shouts at them and they take up their weapons and join him, running -- Azizi and the three Komiteh arrive at Flight 363's gate. The door is CLOSED.
299 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MORNING 299
The Houseguests put their carry-on luggage into the overhead bins. A FLIGHT ATTENDANT is already holding a detached seatbelt preparing to do her safety mime.
ENGLISH) Ladies and gentlemen, from the flight-deck. We're looking at a brief delay -- Passengers groan a bit as they read paperbacks or International Herald Tribunes. Mark Lijek's arm is around Cora. Lee Schatz is moving his mouth in what looks like a prayer. Kathy Stafford's fingers shake as she holds an arm rest. J Stafford tries to stay her hand. Mendez is sitting looking out the window toward the terminal.
300 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - FLIGHT GATE - MORNING 300
Azizi yells to the Swissair Rep, dragging her back toward the gate. We can't hear what she says back, but she's shaking her head.
ARGO - Final 111.
301 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 COCKPIT - MORNING 301
From the window, we can see a GROUND CREWMAN give a thumbs-up. The scrubbed Swiss PILOT, 50s, gives a thumbs- up back. He gently releases the throttle lever.
302 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MORNING 302
Mendez and the Houseguests feel the plane start to move.
303 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT - MORNING 303
Azizi gs to the WINDOW. He can see the Swissair plane slowly backing onto the runway. He picks up a walkie and pushes through the flight gate door, setting off an alarm, followed by the three other Komiteh. He reaches the METAL BARS outside and can't get past. He CALLS INTO THE WALKIE.
304 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER - MORNING 304
An Iranian FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER calmly speaks into his radio in British-accented English.
FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER SwissAir 363, you are Number 2 for departure.
305 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MORNING 305
Out the window of the plane. Two IRANIAN POLICE CARS and a CANVAS-TOPPED TRUCK are headed down the runway toward the plane.
306 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MENDEZ'S POV - MORNING 306
looking out from his window seat.
307 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY - MORNING 307
An IRAN AIRLINES 747 takes off, revealing the Swissair jet behind it. Only empty runway ahead of Swissair 363 now and --
ARGO - Final 112.
308 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER - MORNING 308
ANGLE ON BOOTS taking stairs two at a time. Three KOMITEH WITH AUTOMATICS rush up the tower stairs --
309 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY - MORNING 309
We're SPEEDING BEHIND two Iranian police cars and a canvas-topped TRUCK as they speed toward the Swissair plane. In the back of the truck we can see half a dozen Komiteh, weapons drawn and --
310 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - COCKPIT - MORNING 310
FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER (V.O.)
SWISSAIR 363 -- The Pilot puts his hand on the throttle control.
311 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER - MORNING 311
FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER -- you are cleared for take-off. The Flight Traffic Controller moves his head-set mic away from his mouth to take a drink of very strong Iranian tea, and -- the door to the Control Room BURSTS OPEN. Three Komiteh with automatics, shouting instructions to the Traffic Controller, who spills his tea --
312 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MORNING 312
Mendez looking out the window --
313 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY - MORNING 313
ANGLE ON THE THREE IRANIAN VEHICLES speeding ahead -- they're GAINING ON us --
313A INT. COCKPIT - CONTINUOUS ACTION 313A
The CO-PILOT looks out the window. Sees they are being pursued by militia and police. He looks to the Pilot.
ARGO - Final 113.
313A CONTINUED: 313A A beat. The Pilot reaches down and pushes all four engines to go FULL THROTTLE.
313B EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY - CONTINUOUS ACTION 313B
ANGLE ON THE JEEPS We start to PULL AWAY FROM them -- leaving them behind -- beginning to RISE UP --
314 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER - MORNING 314
The Flight Controller has his arms up... THROUGH the floor-to-ceiling windows of the tower, as three Komiteh watch a Swissair DC-10 angle upward and leave the ground...
315 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY - MORNING 315
The Komiteh from the Jeep are now standing on the runway watching the plane disappear.
316 EXT. TEHRAN STREET NEAR AIRPORT - CONTINUOUS ACTION 316
We are looking at a street corner in Tehran when the PLANE CRESTS THE STOREFRONT, heading upward and away.
317 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) - NIGHT 317
O'Donnell and the Kids gathered around some phones and monitors in the Pit.
HEADPHONES) We have wheels up. He starts to punch the air. O'Donnell stays his arm.
318 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MORNING 318
The Houseguests -- holding their breath -- Mendez -- looking out the window -- scanning the air around the plane -- behind every cloud --
ARGO - Final 114.
318 CONTINUED: 318
FLIGHT ATTENDANT (V.O.) Ladies and gentlemen, it is our pleasure to announce that alcoholic beverages are now available, as we have cleared Iranian airspace. The Houseguests shout and embrace and celebrate. Bob Anders high-fives Lee Schatz, then the other Houseguests. Mark Lijek, crying, embraces Cora. Kathy Stafford is laughing. She kisses her husband's hand. Some of the other passengers look up from their newspapers, annoyed at this Canadian fuss.
319 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) - THE PIT - NIGHT 319
All eyes watch Malinov, listening, headphone to one ear...
MALINOV They're CLEAR! Cheers in the Pit. O'Donnell embraces Malinov.
320 INT./EXT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - NIGHT 320
Siegel throws down a phone and rushes outside... to where Chambers smokes.
OUUUT! THEY'RE OUT! Chambers and Lester scream like kids who've just scored the game-winning touchdown. The P.A. tries to shush them.
321 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 - MORNING 321
A mini-champagne bottle pops. The Houseguests are celebrating: New Year's Eve and a Super Bowl victory party in a DC-10 aisle. FIND Mendez, sitting alone, apart from the celebration. Looking out the window. Mendez turns to see that someone is standing in the aisle next to him. J Stafford. Tony looks up at J.
ARGO - Final 115.
321 CONTINUED: 321
FLIGHT ATTENDANT (O.S.) I'm sorry, sir. You need to sit down. But J dsn't pay attention to the Flight Attendant. He extends his hand to Mendez. Who takes it. A moment between them.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT Sir? J gs back to his seat. HOLD ON Tony Mendez.
322 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - NIGHT 322
Drinking straight from a bottle of Beefeater.
SIEGEL It's history, is what it is. ˜History plays out first as farce, then as tragedy.'
CHAMBERS The quote's the other way around.
SIEGEL Who said it?
322A EXT. BORDER CROSSING - ABADAN, IRAQ - MORNING 322A
An IRAQI BORDER GUARD, checking passports at a chain- link, barbed-wire fence, speaks to a WOMAN IN HIJAB who is turned away from us. The Guard stamps the Woman's passport.
BORDER GUARD (ARABIC) You are admitted to the Republic of Iraq. He closes the passport and the Woman turns around: it is
ARGO - Final 116.
322A CONTINUED: 322A She stands and stares at the line of REFUGEES still waiting to cross: WOMEN balancing blankets tied up with all they own. An OLD MAN being helped by his SON. A couple of KIDS, a SEVEN YEAR-OLD shushing an INFANT in her arms. Lives that have become another tableau of refugees. Sahar, now one of them, walks into Iraq.
323 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) - NIGHT 323
The celebration is quieter and drunker now.
LAMONT (a couple of beers
ALONG) We are the good guys!
ROSSI LAMONT Six down, fifty to go. Call the Times, nail it to the fucking door. The CIA are the good guys.
MALINOV The Canadians are the good guys.
LAMONT -- we're not greedy -- them too --
MALINOV Only. Canada takes the credit, or they'll retaliate against the hostages. Great Satan wasn't involved. No CIA.
LAMONT Is that right, Jack?
O'DONNELL Involved in what? We're as surprised as anybody. Thank you, Canada. Jack raises a glass of Scotch and takes a drink.
324 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 324 A homemade sign that reads: THANK YOU CANADA! ( Homecoming ceremony for Houseguests 2/1980.) Hundreds are gathered to welcome the six back.
ARGO - Final 117.
324 CONTINUED: 324
TED KOPPEL (V.O.) Finally, a sliver of really good news.
AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE, DAY 87, BROADCAST (1/29/80).
325 CANADIAN MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS 325 FLORA MacDONALD, late 60's. ( A.H.H. 1/29/80) FLORA MacDONALD (V.O.) It was a simple operation, really.
326 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT - LOBBY - DAY 326
The Houseguests arrive in the State Department lobby. Television lights everywhere.
TED KOPPEL (V.O.) The six fled the country posing as Canadian diplomats. They simply walked away. Camera flashes, wild cheers. Banners: WELCOME HOME
CORA AND MARK! IDAHO LOVES YOU, LEE! WELCOME HOME, BOB ANDERS! It's the first moment of national celebration since the beginning of the crisis.
327 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 327 IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SADEQ GHOTBZADEH speaks angrily into a microphone.
SADEQ GHOTBZADEH (V.O.) Sooner or later, here or anywhere in the world, Canada will pay for this violation of the sovereignty of Iran. ( News conference
328 MORE ARCHIVE FOOTAGE ( 1/30/1980) 328 Of the State Department WELCOME HOME CEREMONY. Ambassador KEN TAYLOR is presented with a HUGE FLORAL BOUQUET. Cheering crowds all around him.
329 OMITTED 329
ARGO - Final 118.
330 EXT. BY LESTER'S POOL - DAY 330
Siegel in a bathrobe, looking out over L.A., holding The New York Times in front of him: SIX U.S. DIPLOMATS, HIDDEN BY CANADA, LEAVE IRAN SAFELY. Next to that, an article about Ken Taylor: DIPLOMAT DIRECTED ESCAPE IN IRAN. (Front page, NYT 1/30/80.)
SIEGEL She said, ˜Why couldn't we pull off something like that?' You know what I said to her?
331 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) - THE PIT - DAY 331
Mendez stands at a desk on the main floor.
MENDEZ Wha'd you say to her?
332 EXT. BY LESTER'S POOL - DAY 332
SIEGEL I said, ˜Argo fuck yourself.'
333 INT. CIA ARCHIVES - DAY 333
And suddenly it's dead-quiet. We're in a vault inside a vault in the basement of the main building. Mendez's suitcase is laying on a low counter, an ARCHIVES OFFICER t-tagging and cataloging various items. Separating Mendez's personal things from material related to the operation. Mendez empties his briefcase and the officer puts a sticker on the VARIETY featuring the ARGO ad. Another on the ARGO script. He's putting things into a box that reads: USCIA CLASSIFIED MATERIAL. Mendez opens his accordion folder -- flips through it -- it's empty -- no. There's something inside. In one of the compartments is a STORYBOARD FROM ARGO. One that the Komiteh missed. While the Archives Officer is turned around, Mendez slips the storyboard back into the accordion folder and puts it back with his personal things.
ARGO - Final 119.
334 EXT. CIA - FRONT PARKING LOT - AFTERNOON 334
O'Donnell is on his way out, heading toward Tony who is heading in. Seeing Mendez, he stops dead.
O'DONNELL And I left my autograph book at home. His Eminence called me. He wants to see you.
MENDEZ He wants to fire me himself.
O'DONNELL He wants to give you the Intelligence Star. You're getting the highest award of merit of the Clandestine Services of these United States. Ceremony's two weeks from today. Mendez stops walking. A beat.
MENDEZ If they push it a week, I can bring Ian. That's his winter break.
O'DONNELL The op was classified so the ceremony's classified. He can't know about it. Nobody can know about it.
MENDEZ They're gonna hand me an award, then they're gonna take it back?
O'DONNELL If we wanted applause, we would have joined the circus.
MENDEZ I thought we did. O'Donnell claps Tony on the shoulder. Tony walks towards the entrance and Jack heads to his car.
O'DONNELL (yelling to Tony; an
AFTERTHOUGHT) Carter said you were a great American.
ARGO - Final 120.
334 CONTINUED: 334
(YELLING BACK) A great American what?
O'DONNELL He didn't say.
335 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE - ANGLE ON A POSTER - DAY 335
on the wall. ARGO: A COSMIC CONFLAGRATION. A hand takes the poster down.
ANOTHER ANGLE Chambers is disassembling the office. Boxes packed. Everything now off the walls. A PRODUCER walks by, sees Chambers in the door.
PRODUCER What happened to your picture?
CHAMBERS It's in turnaround. He turns out the lights.
336 EXT. ROAD UP TO CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON 336
Mendez's car heads up the road, past a mailbox. Pulls up to the house.
337 EXT. CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON 337
Mendez, a duffel bag on his shoulder, knocks on the door. He waits. After a moment, Christine opens the door.
CHRISTINE Hi. They look at each other. Before she can speak, he's embraced her. Holds tight. It's something in between romantic and fraternal. Not reconciliation, necessarily, but warmth. She reciprocates. It feels right, and good.
ARGO - Final 121.
337 CONTINUED: 337 WIDEN to HOLD ON them holding each other in the dark hall of the very American, even Hummel-kitschy house. HOLD there for a while.
338 INT. CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - IAN'S BEDROOM - ANGLE ON TV - 338
NIGHT A scene of the Old West on a television.
ANOTHER ANGLE Ian is watching 1973's sci-fi Western Westworld in the bedroom. Ian dsn't have to describe the scene to his father this time. WIDEN to see that his head is on a pillow on Tony's lap.
CARD #1: THE IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS ENDED ON JANUARY 20,
1981, WHEN THE REMAINING EMBASSY HOSTAGES WERE RELEASED
AFTER 444 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY.
339 INT. IAN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 339
We can hear the sounds of gunslinging from the movie. Glow-in-the-dark stars on the wall. A Star Wars X-Wing fighter. A couple of rubber Planet of the Apes figures that look like they've been chewed by a dog.
CARD #2: OSCAR-WINNING MAKEUP ARTIST JOHN CHAMBERS WAS
AWARDED THE CIA'S INTELLIGENCE MEDAL OF MERIT, ITS
HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR. HE REMAINED FRIENDS WITH TONY
UNTIL CHAMBERS DIED FROM DIABETES COMPLICATIONS IN 2001. The CAMERA MOVES OVER the dresser of Ian's toys --
CARD #3: THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE CIA COMPLEMENTED EFFORTS
OF THE CANADIAN EMBASSY IN FREEING THE SIX HELD IN
TEHRAN. TO THIS DAY, THE STORY STANDS AS AN ENDURING
MODEL OF COOPERATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS. -- settling on a motley group of action figures.
CARD #4: ALL OF THE HOUSEGUESTS RETURNED TO THE U.S.
FOREIGN SERVICE AFTER THEIR ORDEAL IN IRAN. Then FIND, almost unnoticeable among Ian's science fiction collection, a piece of cardboard behind Captain Kirk and Han Solo figures. It's a STORYBOARD FROM ARGO. The one missed by the Komiteh at the airport.
ARGO - Final 122.
339 CONTINUED: 339
CARD #5: TONY MENDEZ WAS NOT GIVEN BACK HIS INTELLIGENCE
STAR UNTIL 1997, WHEN THE ARGO OPERATION WAS DECLASSIFIED
BY PRESIDENT CLINTON. LINGER ON the ARGO STORYBOARD. A MAN in a futuristic chariot sheltering a KID from what look like laser beams.
CARD #6: HE LIVES IN RURAL MARYLAND WITH HIS FAMILY.
FADE TO BLACK.