UPDATE: Jon Stewart Taking Summer ‘Daily Show’ Hiatus To Direct First Film And “Challenge” Himself, John Oliver To Sub

UPDATE: After I broke the news, Jon Stewart told the media his feelings about going from television to movies. ”I am a television person who is accustomed to having a thought at 10 AM and having it out there at 6:30 PM and moving on, so this is a little scary, yes.” He added: ”One of the reasons we are in this business is to challenge ourselves.”

11 AM EXCLUSIVE: Jon Stewart will take a 12-week summer hiatus from hosting Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show to make his feature directing debut. In his absence, Daily Show regular John Oliver will be guest host for eight weeks of fresh shows. Stewart has written the script for and will direct Rosewater, an adaptation of the book Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival. Published in 2011 by Random House, the book is Maziar Bahari’s harrowing ordeal of leaving London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential elections. With a pregnant fiance left behind, the BBC journalist expected to be away for a week. Instead, he spent the next 118 days in Iran’s most notorious prison being brutally interrogated by a man he knew only by one thing: he smelled of Rosewater. Bahari wrote the book with Aimee Molloy. Scott Rudin will produce with Stewart and Gigi Pritzker. Pritzker’s OddLot Entertainment is financing the film.

Then They Came For MeWhile Stewart is known for his humor, taking on a geopolitical hot button issue film like this is in keeping with how he has made his show an important part of the conversation on political matters. He quietly optioned the book through his Busboy Productions banner, and had a personal stake in the story: After Bahari was accused of spying, one of the items used against him was an appearance he made on The Daily Show. I can’t remember when a well established daily talk show host has taken a hiatus like this to pursue a passion project.

Stewart has acted in numerous films over the years, and hosted the Oscars in 2008; Rosewater marks his first time writing and directing a feature.

Rich Klubeck of UTA sold the entire package to OddLot. ICM’s Ron Bernstein sold the book to Stewart quietly a year ago. James Dixon manages Stewart.

Comments (74)

  • John Stewart is a legend of course. But it will be great to see how he does in his directorial debut. I am a big fan, so I know he will do very well.

    Comment by Ross — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:12am PST  
    • Such a big fan you can’t spell his name right.

      Comment by try again, please — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:39am PST  
      • perhaps it’s “Jon” that spells his name wrong…?

        Comment by come on — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 12:19pm PST  
        • Standard shortened spelling for Jonathans.

          Comment by I'll see your "come on" and raise you a "really?" — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 1:56pm PST  
    • A legend in his own mind.
      Who does he think he is, Ben Affleck? :)

      Comment by Burbank — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 8:11pm PST  
  • Jon is a true genius. Hope this is the first of many Stewart-helmed films.

    Comment by War On Christmas — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:14am PST  
    • What about TV hosting skills would indicate he’s a good director? That you agree with his politics???

      Comment by wrtRPROD7 — Wednesday March 6, 2013 @ 9:21am PST  
      • What, as a functioning moron, makes you think you should be posting on the internet?

        Comment by Corey — Sunday March 10, 2013 @ 11:22pm PDT  
  • This is probably a misstep, but I love Jon, so it’s good to see him go for it!

    Comment by LuigiDaMan — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:19am PST  
  • Good for Jonny! He should change the title to ‘Argo 2: Jewish Boogaloo’

    Comment by Nerd — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:30am PST  
    • This should go down in the comment hall of fame. You, sir/ma’am, are hilarious.

      Comment by g55 — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 12:22pm PST  
    • LMAO…. oh I needed that laugh today…

      Comment by Mama Karole — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 1:12pm PST  
    • of course Jon would get the Canadian part right… unlike afflec

      Comment by Ryder — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 7:51pm PST  
  • You don’t get Scott Rudin producing without good material, so I’m already betting Mr. Stewart wrote an excellent script. I bet he’ll do his usual meticulous job with the directing side and make a good film.

    Comment by Stewart admirer — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:38am PST  
  • This is a great opportunity for John Oliver. I imagine if this goes well for him it could lead to him getting his own show. They might not want to put another half hour on after Colbert, but maybe they’ll do something like give him the 11-midnight slot on Fridays.

    Comment by NotBritish — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:40am PST  
    • It’s like this is his trial run on whether or not he’ll be able to take over Daily Show whenever Stewart retires, whenever that may be. But yes, if he did do well then it’d open a plethora of Viacom related hosting opportunities.

      Comment by SomewhatBritish — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 12:41pm PST  
    • If he gets a regular show out of this, I can forgive him for turning down a regular role on Community.

      Comment by robm — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 2:10pm PST  
      • In retrospect, turning down a regular role on Community just showed how smart he is!

        Comment by joshreader — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 7:22pm PST  
    • That’s an interesting idea. Not standup, but something tailored to fit Oliver.

      Comment by caley — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 3:38pm PST  
  • Argo 2: Jewish Boogaloo

    Funniest thing I’ve read in a long, long time.

    Comment by Brad — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:47am PST  
  • Risky move for Stewart, but I know he can pull it off.

    Comment by Gandalf — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:47am PST  
  • Got nothing better to do, eh?

    Comment by Adam — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 11:53am PST  
  • Good for Jon! We hope there are more film and television projects coming.

    Comment by Morty — Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 12:35pm PST  
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