A Minute With: Comic Jon Stewart on not flubbing his first film

Wed Sep 3, 2014 2:53pm EDT
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By Mary Milliken

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Having hosted late night television's satirical "The Daily Show" for 15 years, comedian Jon Stewart grew accustomed to a daily churn that he says "forgives sloppiness."

Now, he has crafted his first feature film in a more meticulous fashion, and hopes it will not be more permanent evidence of his own idiocy.

His directorial debut is the drama "Rosewater," the story of Tehran-born Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned and tortured in Iran at the hands of a man who smelled of rosewater. Stewart advocated for Bahari's release and then invited him to his nightly show.

Stewart, 51, spoke to Reuters about the man who moved him, taking the film to the Toronto International Film Festival and a strange encounter in a hotel room in Jordan.

Q: How do you think "Rosewater" will resonate with the Toronto audience?

A: Hopefully they will feel a real connection to Maziar. He is put in this extraordinary situation and his ability to maintain his humanity throughout is what is extraordinary about him. And his sense of still being able to see absurdity. He is a very mischievous guy and reclaiming that was his way for him to reclaim his humanity.

Maybe also the cost of oppression. It is ultimately about the cost of oppression, not only for those that are held, but for those that are perpetrating that. It comes at a really steep cost on both sides.   Continued...

Gael García Bernal as Maziar Bahari in a scene from Rosewater. REUTERS/Yana Productions/TIFF