"Argo" excerpts landmark 60 Minutes interview
The movie "Argo" (starring Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston, pictured above) opened this weekend and those of us at 60 Minutes who saw it were interested to see that it includes footage of our late colleague Mike Wallace, as well as other journalists who reported on the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.
The film is based on true events and is a compelling reminder of the enormous danger in Iran at that time, and of the risk that Mike took when - just two weeks after 66 Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy -- he confronted the Ayatollah Khomeini with his famous "lunatic" line.
To view that full interview with Khomeini - which is excerpted in "Argo" -- watch the video below.
Years later, Steve Kroft asked Mike about that moment and how Mike had the courage to confront Khomeini with terms that included "lunatic" and "a disgrace to Islam." Here's part of that conversation:
Mike Wallace: I figured, what the hell are they going to do, make me a hostage too, if I ask . . .
Steve Kroft: Put you in prison.
Mike Wallace: Yeah.
And Mike recalled the translator's surprise when Mike asked the "lunatic" question:
Mike Wallace: The guy that was translating, he looked over at me and said, "You're the lunatic if you think I'm gonna translate that question to the Ayatollah."
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