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Tony Mendez on 'Argo' Win at Oscars: 'It Was Beyond Belief'

February 27, 2013, 4:47 am GMT

The former CIA officer whose real-life story is adapted by Ben Affleck in the Oscar-winning film gushes about the Sunday's victory, 'It was an emotional reaction, it was amazing.'

Tony Mendez

"Argo" big win at the 2013 Oscars means a lot to Tony Mendez. The retired CIA technical operations officer, whose real-life story is adapted by Ben Affleck in his Best Picture-winning movie, finally made his first comment on the film's victory at the Academy Awards during an interview with Piers Morgan on Tuesday, February 26.

"It was beyond belief," Tony, who is now 73 years old, described his feeling upon hearing the results on Sunday, Feruary 24. "It was an emotional reaction, it was amazing. Nothing I ever did in the service was as scary as that moment. But it also had the high as well as the low."

Tony was the one who penned the book, "Argo:How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled off the Most Audacious Rescue in History", which tells the story of the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, and unfolds behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis-the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades.

During his appearance on "Piers Morgan Tonight", Tony was accompanied by his wife Jonna, who was equally excited about "Argo" win. "It was five years pretty much from the beginning to end," she said. "At the end, we cried when we won. We cried when [screenwriter] Chris Terrio won."

"I think we cried the first time we saw the movie," she recalled. "The whole thing has just been an emotional roller coaster, but a good one. Can't wait to see it again and see if we just keep crying. It was something. It was unexpected."

Despite all the triumph, "Argo" had to face some people who criticized the historical inaccuracies in the movie. Matt Baglio, who co-wrote the original book with Tony, went on defending the film as stating, "It's a movie. I think people understand that. It's not a documentary."

"Hollywood movies tend to take liberty with the facts," he said while speaking with Morgan via satellite. "One of the reasons why Tony and I wanted to write this book was because we wanted to get the real story out there. The movie focuses more on Tony's side of events."

"Real life, of course, the Canadians were instrumental in taking in the Americans when nobody else really would. That's also portrayed in the film. There are a couple things that are different in real life. But on the whole, I think emotionally, the tone of the film, I think they did a pretty good job."

At Sunday's Oscars, "Argo" claimed victory by snatching the most coveted award in addition to Best Film Editing and Best Screenplay.


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