Alan Arkin talks ‘Argo’ and Remembers ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’

Alan Arkin knows more than most about how bizarre Hollywood can be.  The Oscar-winner has been in the business for decades, which made him uniquely able to effectively play movie producer Lester Siegel in the new film Argo.

“The people involved with it don’t find [Hollywood] absurd,” he said in an interview with Moviefone.  “I was just reading it as business as usual.  That’s the way things are.  [Hollywood’s] crazy, but I don’t think any crazier than what goes on in politics or a lot of other businesses.”

Argo is based on a true story about a decoy film production that was arranged to help rescue kidnap victims during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.  Several of the characters were based on real people.  Arkin thought his character was “and then I found out it was a composite of about three or four different people, which made it very, very hard to play.  Playing four people at the same time is not an easy job.”  Arkin was not told which people his character was drawn from, so “I just used my imagination,” he said.

Moviefone also brought up that another of Arkin’s films, Glengarry Glen Ross, just had its 20th anniversary.  Remembering the movie, Arkin said, “It was the hardest film anybody has ever worked on.  We rehearsed it for a month, and when we weren’t on screen and run over to our trailers in groups of two or three and run lines.  It was incredibly hard.  It was the hardest role I ever worked on.  The dialogue was murderously difficult.  [Screenwriter David] Mamet is harder than Shakespeare, by far.”

Argo hits theaters Friday, October 12.

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