Things have certainly turned around for Ben Affleck over the past five years. He’s gone from what most people consider the low point in his career (starring in the much-ridiculed Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas) to become a respectable actor/director. That’s partially due to his performances in films like Hollywoodland and State of Play, but largely because of his directorial efforts, Gone Baby Gone and The Town (which Affleck headlined as well).

Hence the excitement about Argo, which has officially begun principle photography under the direction of Affleck – who has recruited a top-notch team of additional acting and technical talents to work on the film.

Argo is based on a 2007 Wired magazine article that details how the CIA concocted a scheme to rescue half a dozen American diplomats from Iran during the height of that country’s 1979 revolution. That plan involved a team of agents passing themselves off as members of the film crew for a Hollywood production titled (what else) “Argo.”

For additional details, check out the film’s official synopsis below:

Based on true events, “Argo” chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis — the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades.

On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.

Joining Affleck as part of the undercover CIA operation are the likes of Oscar-winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine), John Goodman, and Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston. Rounding out the cast are people like Scoot McNairy, Kyle Chandler (Super 8), Rory Cochrane (CSI: Miami), Chris Messina (Damages), Michael Parks (Kill Bill), Clea DuVall (Heroes), and many more.

Chris Terrio (Heights) penned the screenplay for Argo, which also reunites Affleck with his Town production designer Sharon Seymour. Other noteworthy members of the film’s creative team include Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (25th Hour, Brokeback Mountain) and multiple Academy Award nominee, editor William Goldenberg (Heat, The Insider).

Jeremy Renner in 'The Town'

Gone Baby Gone demonstrated that Affleck could handle a gritty character-driven drama, but it was The Town that really showed off his abilities to deliver an excellent crime-thriller that was both well-acted and featured some intense action set pieces (car chases, shoot-outs, etc.). Affleck’s arguably a filmmaker on his way to greatness, which is why there’s good reason to be excited about him taking on a hard-to-believe story like Argo. It’s the sort of project that’ll allow him to continue fine-tuning his strengths as an auteur and try to expand his vision to encompass more of a globe-trotting action-drama than his previous directorial and writing efforts (all of which have been based in the Boston area).

Argo is tentatively expected to reach theaters by late 2012. We’ll let you know when an official release date has been settled on.

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures