Jon Stewart leaving ‘The Daily Show’ to direct feature film

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 15:37 EDT
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Comedy Central host Jon Stewart. Photo: Screenshot via Comedy Central.
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Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart will leave “The Daily Show” this summer to direct a feature film, putting longtime contributor John Oliver at the program’s helm for 12 weeks while the program’s host is on hiatus.

According to Deadline, the film is an adaptation of Maziar Bahari’s book, Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival, about how the Iranian-Canadian journalist went to Iran in 2009 to cover the country’s presidential election.

Instead of returning home as planned, Bahari was held by Iranian authorities and interrogated for 118 excruciating days. His tormentor, who he could only identify by the smell of roses, reportedly used Bahari’s June 2009 appearance on “The Daily Show” against him during the interrogation sessions. That segment featured contributor Jason Jones interviewing Bahari just weeks before he was detained as an alleged “spy.”

Stewart bought the rights to Bahari’s story in 2010 and featured an extended interview with the Newsweek contributor in 2011. The movie is to be titled “Rosewater,” after the smell Bahari detected from his tormentor.

The film will be Stewart’s first attempt at directing. His previous work in film included bit roles in movies like, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Half Baked,” “Death to Smoochy,” “The Faculty,” and “Big Daddy.”

“I am a television person who is accustomed to having a thought at 10 a.m. and having it out there at 6:30 p.m. and moving on, so this is a little scary, yes,” Stewart told The New York Times. “But one of the reasons we are in this business is to challenge ourselves, and I really connected to Maziar’s story,” he added. “It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”

Oliver is expected to produce eight weeks of new shows while Stewart is away, according to Deadline.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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