Bryan Cranston narrates Discovery Channel documentary about real-life “Argo” story

Updated Feb. 27, 2013, 2pm CT

Bryan Cranston, who plays CIA manager Jack O’Donnell in Ben Affleck’s Oscar-nominated winning Argo — which chronicles the CIA’s attempt to rescue six Americans during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis — will narrate ARGO: Inside Story for Discovery Channel. An updated version of its original 2002 broadcast, the one-hour ARGO: Inside Story airs on Discovery Channel Feb. 23 at 10pm ET/PT, with an encore on Oscar Sunday, Feb. 24, at 12pm ET/PT. (UPDATE 2/27/13: Discovery will be re-airing ARGO: Inside Story Feb. 27 at 8pm ET/PT and Feb. 28 at 1am ET/PT.)

ARGO: Inside Story gains access to the top players involved in the crisis, including the CIA’s “chief of disguise,” Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck’s character in the film, which was named Best Picture at the Oscars telecast on Feb. 24), who was called upon to devise the rescue plan. The documentary takes an inside look at the escape and how Mendez forged identity documents and elaborate disguises to get past the security agents at the Tehran airport. As anyone familiar with the story, or who has seen Argo, knows, the CIA had to come up with a convincing reason for the six people being in Tehran in the first place, and devise a way for them to leave without arousing suspicion. The operation became an elaborate scheme involving fake IDs, a phantom movie production and unprecedented cooperation between the United States and Canada.

In ARGO: Inside Story, Mendez — who had limited access to materials once inside Iran — recalls how he forged official documents in the office of the Canadian ambassador.

“One of the stamp pads had dried out and I had to mix the right ink color,” Mendez says. “So I went over to the Canadian ambassador’s liquor cabinet and got a bottle of Scotch and poured some on [the pad].”

ARGO: Inside Story also reveals how the Americans prepared for their departure, the true story about the agency’s involvement and their reasons for keeping it secret for nearly two decades.

ARGO: Inside Story airs Feb. 23 at 10pm ET/PT and Feb. 24 at 12pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel. It will re-air Feb. 27 at 8pm ET/PT and Feb. 28 at 1am ET/PT.


Pictured: Bryan Cranston in Argo — © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Credit: Claire Folger