Ben Affleck! Istanbul! Paparazzi!

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Jessica and I were walking through the streets of Istanbul on a Sunday and we passed by a film crew. We paused to get our bearings on the iPhone map, and some 20-something guy with a walkie-talkie comes up to me and says “No photos, no photos. Move.”

I looked up and laughed: photos of what, a Turkish low-budget film? But the idea of being told not to take photos pissed me off, so I brought the iPhone up and made like I was taking a picture.

The boy-man came closer: “No photos, no photos. Move.” I laughed: We had places to go, and so we left.

A few yards away Jessica turns and says: “Did you see who was there?”

I shake my head no.

“Ben Affleck.”

I turn back and sure enough, there is a bearded Ben getting ready for a shot. And then the King of the Sidewalk is back. “No photos.”

I didn’t even have my iPhone out, so I pretend to frame a shot with my fingers and “click” a photo.

“No photos, no photos.”

“I don’t have a camera,” I pointed out.

He responds: “No staring.”

I found this priceless and laughed.

“Move, move,” he said. “No staring.”

The New York City part of me wanted to respond: “What the fuck are you talking about no staring? I’ll look at anything I want.”

But another part of my brain reminded me I was a tourist in Turkey. And I thought about the movie Midnight Express. I didn’t want to wind up in a Turkish prison walking endlessly around a grinding stone and masturbating through glass when Jessica visited me, not for gazing in the general direction of Ben Affleck. Matt Damon, maybe. Scarlet Johannson in the opening scene in Lost in Translation, OK. But Ben Affleck? Never. So I moved on.

Addendum: The movie Ben Affleck was in Istanbul filming was the big budget Argo, about a CIA agent planning a hostage rescue. I have no idea if the movie is supposed to be any good, but it has an amazingly cool cast: Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Tate Donovan and Zeljko Ivanek.

Addendum 2: Movie Scoop! First Film Footage, Ben Affleck New Mega-hit Argo!

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