BOSTON—In an interview published today in Entertainment Weekly, actor-director Ben Affleck responded to movie reviewers’ near-unanimous criticism of his decision to set Argo, his new film about the Iranian hostage crisis, in modern-day Boston. “We wanted to take this story that everyone knows—the CIA’s rescue of six U.S. diplomats from militant Islamist captors in 1979—and use the cultural backdrop of South Boston to explore it in this whole new way,” said Affleck, explaining that he and the film’s producers considered several other locations, including New York and Tehran, before deciding the movie should take place in Boston. “We stayed true to this tale of international intrigue and theocratic infighting, but at the same time infused it with some of the Southie grit that, you know, really captures the streets of blue-collar Boston. When viewers see the main character, Grand Ayatollah Sully, drive past those classic Boston landmarks—Faneuil Hall, Harvard Yard, Fenway—I think that’s when Argo is going to resonate with them most.” Affleck also confirmed that his next film, a remake of Martin Scorsese’s The Departed set in present-day Boston, will begin shooting in spring 2014.