One year after his film, “Argo,” took home the Best Picture Oscar, Ben Affleck said he finds the real U.S. State Department “quite intimidating.”
“It’s just a pleasure to be back here in the State Department after – the real State Department. I had to fake it for ‘Argo,'” Affleck told reporters in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. “I get to see the real thing here, so it’s quite intimidating.”
The actor-director was in the nation’s capital to testify at a Senate committee hearing about peace efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative and recently appeared in a fundraising video for the charity with friend and “Good Will Hunting” co-writer Matt Damon.
Affleck appeared alongside Secretary of State John Kerry and Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic, former senator Russ Feingold, at the State Department to thank Kerry for making the Congo region — which also includes the Republic of the Congo — a priority.
Affleck was asked by a reporter how the real State Department measured up to what he depicted in “Argo.”
“Well, this part’s much better,” Affleck said about the ceremonial room in which the men appeared for remarks.
“In fact, this was – this area was too fancy to try to recreate so we just recreated white hallways with colored stripes,” he added.
At the committee hearing, Affleck said that while the dire situation in the Congo has improved from when he last testified to Congress 14 months ago, the U.S. needs to do more to ensure that progress continues.
“I am working to do my part for a country and a people I believe in and care deeply about,” he said.
“I am thankful that I can tell a more hopeful story one of small but powerful victories. It reinforces our belief that when the international community acts and the Congolese government rises to the moment, these problems are indeed solvable.”
However, the Oscar-winner still argued that now is not the time to step out.
“People view the fire as having gone down now. We can not start to walk away. This is the critical moment.”
Affleck went on to say: “I am also here with an urgent message. Our work is not done. We cannot risk diminished us leadership at a time lasting stability and peace are within reach. Accomplishments over the past year were hard fought. They are fragile. They are reversible.”
Senators praised Affleck’s commitment to the cause.
“Your credibility is remarkable because of the depth of your commitment,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.