Quick! Who remembers that in 2010 “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart optioned the life rights of Iranian/Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari for a feature film? Well he did, and now it looks like he’s exercising those rights, by leaping into his directorial debut in a pretty surprising and exciting bit of news.
Stewart has adapted Bahari’s 2011 book “Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival,“ a fascinating and suspenseful true story about the journalist’s 2009 arrest during the Iranian election protests, which led to him spending 118 days in jail. While detained, he was interrogated, often while blindfolded and facing away from interrogators, and forced to confess to a number of crimes including helping promote a “color revolution,” and covering “illegal demonstrations and gatherings.” Moreover, an interview Bahari did with Jason Jones of “The Daily Show” where he was dressed up as a spy for a joke (see below) was also used against him. Bahari never saw the man who questioned him while he was behind bars, and the only thing he could use to identify him was the odor of rosewater.
And Stewart will take that detail and use it as the title of the movie: “Rosewater.” While known for cracking wise on Comedy Central, this is a pretty nice pivot from Stewart, and while it may seem surprising to see him take on a straight-up drama, it’s not too surprising either, given his passionate politics. On his first time out behind the camera, Stewart will be assisted behind the scenes by mega producer Scott Rudin, and we’d wager his involvement could mean some pretty interesting casting.
But what about your beloved “The Daily Show”? Not to worry. John Oliver will be subbing in this summer while Stewart takes twelve weeks to shoot the film. [Deadline]