Watch the Trailer for Jon Stewart’s Directorial Debut, About a Journalist Imprisoned in Iran

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 28 2014 4:04 PM

Watch the Trailer for Jon Stewart’s Directorial Debut

Gael García Bernal
Gael García Bernal in Rosewater.

Still from YouTube

Jon Stewart wasn’t looking to direct a movie, he says, but when Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari was arrested just days after appearing on The Daily Show, Stewart became involved in the story that would lead to his directorial debut. Rosewater, adapted by Stewart from Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival, tells the story of the journalist’s arrest, interrogation, and four-month imprisonment while covering the 2009 Iranian elections.

The Daily Show segment in which Bahari appeared before his arrest, “Persians of Interest,” was used by interrogators as evidence of his alleged “media espionage.” While Bahari doesn’t blame Stewart for the ordeal, he maintains that Stewart likely “felt personally invested in the story because his name came up in a dark interrogation room in a prison in Iran.” He appeared on The Daily Show after his release and, before getting into a more serious discussion, the two engaged in a lighthearted banter. Bahari jokingly wished to retract his permission for Stewart to run the initial interview, and Stewart offered, “Well, they say comedy is imprisonment plus time.”

Advertisement

While an initial press screening met with mixed reviews, the release of a film about the dangers faced by war correspondents is, unfortunately, as timely as ever. Stewart is braced for criticism not just on his directorial prowess but also on his decision to cast Gael García Bernal, who is Mexican, to play Bahari—he recently explained that decision to the Hollywood Reporter. Rosewater will premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in early September and open in theaters on Nov. 7. As for any future big-screen projects, Stewart quips, “I’m gonna see who else I can get arrested.”

Eliza Berman is an intern in the culture department at Slate.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.