The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is taking a 12-week break from his show this summer to direct Rosewater, an adaptation of journalist Maziar Bahari’s bestselling memoir Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival. Tapping into some of the same themes as Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo, the film chronicles 118 days of interrogation and torture that Bahari was subjected to after being detained by the Iranian government in 2009. The adaptation was written by Stewart and the film will be co-produced by Scott Rudin, who seems to be going through a films-directed-by-comedians phase. (Earlier this week, we reported that he will produce Chris Rock’s latest directorial effort.)
No stranger to movies, Stewart pursued acting for several years before his breakthrough success on The Daily Show. However, the films he appeared in—including Wishful Thinking, Half-Baked, The Faculty, Playing By Heart, Big Daddy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Death to Smoochy—didn’t suggest a capacity for the kind of serious-minded prestige drama that Rosewater would seem to be aiming for.
The other oddity of this undertaking is Stewart’s intention to squeeze it into a three-month window in his schedule. Given that he has never directed, a more prolonged immersion in this project would seem like a wise idea. However, it’s quite possible that his commitments to The Daily Show will be reduced when he returns in the fall. This balancing act is nothing new for Scott Rudin, who previously navigated the demands of Comedy Central’s schedule when he worked with Trey Parker and Matt Stone on South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut and Team America: World Police.