Maybe you remember Jon Stewart taking three months off last summer from The Daily Show. That led the emergence of guest host John Oliver, who got his own show, HBO’s brilliant Last Week Tonight.
If you didn’t know why Stewart wasn’t on The Daily Show (but you probably do), he wasn’t just taking the summer off. He was making a movie. And not the comedy you might expect from one of our country’s most well-known comedians and critics. Stewart was directing a serious film. (He also wrote its screenplay.)
The movie is titled Rosewater, based on Maziar Bahari’s memoir Then They Came for Me. Here is the trailer for the film, Stewart’s directorial debut.
In 2009, Bahari was covering Iran’s presidential election when he was captured and imprisoned under the accusation of being a spy. “Rosewater” was the nickname Bahari gave his captor and interrogator, based on the scent he remembers.
(Believe it or not, some of Iran’s evidence for Bahari being a spy was an interview he gave to Jason Jones on The Daily Show. Stewart was captivated — and surely felt guilty — by Bahari’s story and bought the rights to make the book into a film.)