Jewish TV comedian Jon Stewart is stepping down from his throne at Comedy Central this summer for a break to direct a film based on a screenplay he wrote.
Stewart is abandoning “The Daily Show,” the New York Times reports, to direct a film called “Rosewater,” which is based on a 2011 book, “And Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival” by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy.
“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 said. “But one of the reasons we are in this business is to challenge ourselves,” he continued, “and I really connected to Maziar’s story. It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”
The film is about a Bahari’s arrest in Tehran in 2009, when he was imprisoned for four months because Iran believed the Canadian-Iranian journalist was plotting a revolution. Shortly before Bahari was arrested, he appeared on “The Daily Show,” in a sketch about being a spy, and his Iranian captors used the footage against him. Stewart struck up a friendship with Bahari after he was released, and adapted a screenplay after reading his book.
“One of the things that appealed to me about the story is that it does have lighter moments,” Mr. Stewart said. “One of the things that kept Maziar alive was his ability to keep his sense of humor – to remember about joy and laughter – and see the absurdity of his situation.”
“The Daily Show” English comedian John Oliver will host Stewart’s show while he directs the film for 12 weeks.