1. The Great Escape by Joshua Bearman
The script for Argo was developed from an article (“The Great Escape”) by Joshuah Bearman published in Wired in 2006. Bearmen currently has new movie in production based on his December 2012 Playboy article, “The Big Cigar”, which covers how Bert Schneider, a well-heeled Hollywood producer with a coke problem and a soft spot for radical politics, smuggled Huey Newton, the leader of the Black Panthers who was awaiting trial on a murder charge, into Cuba in 1974.
The background of the movie was set during the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis, which lasted 14 ½ months. The crisis began on November 4, 1979 when a group of about sixty Iranian university students scaled the wall of the U.S. embassy compound in Tehran, and bound and blindfolded fifty-two Americans whom they deemed to be spies working against their newly established Islamic Republic of Iran after their revolution. Their demands were that the United States hand over to the newly established Revolutionary Guards of the Ayatollah Khomeini the ousted despot Shah Reza Pahlavi who was in the United States receiving treatment for cancer. This stand-off would last for 14 ½ months and may have cost President Jimmy Carter a second term. To read more about the Crisis and its aftermath check out the Atlantic Monthly article, “Among the Hostage-Takers” by Mark Bowden.
The Movie Script used by the CIA as they cover was based on the book by Robert Zelzany, Lord of Light. The movie was initially in development by producer Barry Geller, who not only wanted to create the film but also an amusement park called Science Fiction Land. Legendary Comic Book Artist, Jack Kirby, designed the initial storyboards for Geller’s movie. You can order a copy of the book, Lord of Light, for check out in the Library here.
Because of diplomatic reasons and for the safety of the remaining hostages in Tehran, the United States could not take credit for the hostages escape. Instead, Canada was given full credit and the heist was entitled “The Canadian Caper”. It would stand as a global example of goodwill and an example of foreign relations to the rest of the world. But it would not save the outgoing Prime Minister his job. Check out one such article written about the Caper written in the Washington Post after the events had transpired.
The main protagonist of the movie, Tony Mendez, had a long and storied career as a CIA operative. Since his retirement he has written books about his time as agent. By clicking on the title of each book, you can order it to the Library for check out.