Jon Stewart is taking his first-ever hiatus from The Daily Show this summer to direct his first-ever movie, Rosewater, according to Deadline. If that weren’t unexpected enough, the movie is a drama about a journalist being tortured in Iran. Stewart’s Daily Show hiatus will be twelve weeks long, and longtime correspondent John Oliver will take his place as host for eight weeks of new shows. Oliver getting the gig as Stewart’s (temporary) replacement is definitely an indication that he’s a frontrunner to succeed Stewart if he ever does leave The Daily Show to, say, direct movies full-time if this new enterprise pans out or to take over CBS’s The Late Show when David Letterman inevitably retires sometime in the next few years.
Stewart has never directed or written a produced movie before, but he wrote the script to Rosewater, which is based on Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival, a 2011 non-fiction book based on journalist Maziar Bahari’s true story of traveling to Iran to cover the presidential elections for a week and being detained and tortured for the next half-year in “Iran’s most notorious prison” while his pregnant fiance is back at home. It sounds like Jon Stewart is gunning for an Oscar with this thing, especially considering that Hollywood megaproducer Scott Rudin (No Country for Old Men, The Social Network) is onboard. This definitely isn’t the movie you’d expect from a guy whose last film credit was playing the fourth male lead in Death to Smoochy.