"I'm just going to build a body of work of individuals whose lives I've partially ruined, and then I will try to rehabilitate that through film. It's a new blending of reality and filmmaking."
Jon Stewart is kidding. Kind of.
The Daily Show host makes his directorial debut on Friday with the release of Rosewater, a film adaptation of Maziar Bahari's memoir about the 118 days he spent in an Iranian prison. The Iranian-Canadian journalist was jailed after covering protests surrounding the country's disputed 2009 presidential election—and participating in a Daily Show segment with correspondent Jason Jones in the run-up to the vote.
To be clear: Maziar Bahari wasn't detained because of his appearance on The Daily Show; Iranian authorities were seizing on any pretext at the time to crack down on the opposition and those who chronicled it, and to smear the anti-government Green Movement as a foreign conspiracy. But his interrogators did play Jones's interview for Bahari as proof that Bahari was a spy. Jon Stewart, for his part, didn't undertake his first feature film to exorcise his guilt about the incident. But his involvement in the episode did produce a friendship with Bahari, which in turn inspired Stewart to make the movie. And Rosewater would never have come to be if The Daily Show hadn't started experimenting with sending its correspondents—"The Best F#@king News Team Ever"—overseas, and exporting its brand of satire in the process.