"The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart took a break from the comedy last night to address his summer hiatus, during which he will direct "Rosewater," a film based on journalist Maziar Bahari's experience being detained and tortured in Iran.
Stewart, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, has a special tie to Bahari's story: Bahari landed in Iranian jail a week after his participation in a 2009 "Daily Show" segment on Iran.
Stewart replayed "Minarets of Menace," a segment for which "we actually tried to get a correspondent into Iran because they had been nicknamed the axis of evil," Stewart explained. "We wanted to see who these evil people were," he said in jest. In the segment, correspondent Jason Jones interviewed Bahari about life in Iran:
About a week after "The Daily Show" aired the segment, Bahari was detained by Iranian authorities. "So I felt like shit," said Stewart, upon hearing the news. "He was tortured and interrogated, and one of the things he was interrogated about was being in touch with an American spy. The American spy in question was this guy [Jason Jones]," Stewart said.
Although authorities used the clip as evidence against Bahari, the detention was ultimately not about his "Daily Show" appearance and the journalist was released thanks to an international campaign calling for his release. "It had nothing to do with us," assured Stewart, but that "didn't necessarily ease the pain."
Captivated by Bahari's story, Stewart worked with the journalist to adapt his memoir into a movie. "In truth, great literature is not great literature until it's been made into a movie: 'The Great Gatsby,' 'The Bible,' 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,'" he joked.
Stewart, who wrote the screenplay for the film, will also direct the film. John Oliver will host in the interim, and Stewart and returns to "The Daily Show" Sept. 3: