What Is Rosewater, the Movie Taking Jon Stewart Away from The Daily Show?

For starters: It's not a comedy

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Kevin Fitzsimons/Comedy Central

Jon Stewart

Fans of The Daily Show will see something unusual when they tune in this summer: no Jon Stewart.

The long-time host of Comedy Central’s news show will take a three-month leave, during which new shows will continue to be produced. John Oliver, who has been a Daily Show fixture for about seven years, will step in to host, Deadline reports.

Stewart plans to use his down time not lounging on a beach, but directing a movie (his first). The film is called Rosewater, and this is what we know about it.

First: it’s not a comedy, but a political drama.

(MORETIME Contributor Steven Brill on “The Daily Show”)

The movie, which is also written by Stewart (his first go at screenwriting), is based on the 2011 book Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy. Bahari, a London-based journalist, went to Iran in 2009 for what was supposed to be a quick story about that country’s presidential election. Instead, while his pregnant fiancée waited for him, he spent months at Evin Prison, being interrogated by a man (whose sole distinguishing feature, to the usually blindfolded Bahari, was that he smelled of rosewater). Bahari’s memoir also recounts the contemporary history of Iran.

The New York Times reports that the movie will shoot overseas with a budget of up to $40 million. The Times also details how The Daily Show played a part in Bahari’s ordeal: the journalist had participated in a sketch about spies and Iran and, when he arrived there, that appearance was used as evidence against him. Stewart was understandably upset about what had happened and stayed in touch with Bahari after his return home, eventually optioning the book and drafting a screenplay based on the story.

No word yet on whether Stewart will also pull an Affleck and appear in his Iran movie.

(MORE: Reporting From Iran, While Banned)