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When Jon Stewart first announced he was taking time off to write and direct a feature film the expectation was for some kind of comedy. Sure it would probably be smart and most likely woven through with political or social commentary, but the main narrative would surely be something goofy. Happily that wasn’t what Stewart was interested in pursuing though and instead took up a far greater challenge. Maziar Bahari is an Iranian-born journalist who was arrested in Tehran while covering the elections and subsequent riots for Newsweek. His jail time lasted several months and included both physical and emotional torture, and the story Stewart wanted to tell on film is the one Bahari told in his memoir, “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.” It’s an alternately engaging, terrifying and inspiring story, and while that’s enough of a reason to bring it to the screen Stewart had another motive as well. Clips of Bahari being interviewed on The Daily Show were used as evidence against him during his “trial” in Iran. Check out the first trailer for Rosewater below.



What is Casting Couch? It’s still got its ear to the RSS feeds looking for casting news, even though the studios are probably waiting until the holiday is over to release any more. Still, we were able to find out about some new jobs for child actors, as well as who John Stewart has been busy recruiting for Rosewater. When James Franco announced that he wanted to make a movie adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, pretty much everyone said it was a bad idea and shouldn’t be done. But he did it anyway, and now the film has played Cannes. Never being one to stop tempting fate, Franco’s success has led to him deciding he now wants to adapt another, even less structured for the cinema Faulkner story, The Sound and the Fury. Not only does he feel like he’s cobbled together enough sources of financing to get it done, but according to a report from the LA Times, he also feels like he can get Mad Men star Jon Hamm to appear in the film as the family it feature’s patriarch, Mr. Compson, his brother Dave Franco as Quentin Compson, and Danny McBride in a role that’s still undisclosed. Scheduling issues just need to be ironed out, and then it’s all a go. Franco himself intends on appearing in the film as well.


The Purge

Plenty of entertainment news happened over the weekend while you were girding your loins for a very special season finale of Game of Thrones (or going outside like a normal person, perhaps). We’ve rounded a bunch of it up into a neat little news package we call our afternoon Biz Break. 


Jon Stewart

The New York Times reports what, in the grand scheme of thing, was probably inevitable – that Daily Show host Jon Stewart will be taking some time to write and direct his very first film, titled Rosewater. Unfortunately, Stewart’s new, quite serious undertaking will also mean that he has to actually take time off from his hosting duties. The comedian is expected to be away from his Comedy Central flagship for twelve weeks in order to film the feature, which he has already adapted from Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy‘s 2011 book “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.” That sounds pretty serious, right? Stewart’s show actually had something to do with the true life tale at the heart of Rosewater – as the Times tells it: the “Canadian-Iranian journalist and documentarian…was jailed in Tehran in 2009 for four months, accused of plotting to stage a revolution against the government. Shortly before his arrest, Mr. Bahari had participated in a Daily Show sketch, conducted by one of the show’s correspondents, Jason Jones, who was pretending to be a spy. Mr. Bahari’s captors used the footage against him.” Of course, Stewart and company took the news quite hard, with the newbie filmmaker telling the outlet, “You can imagine how upset we were and I struck up a friendship with him afterward.” Stewart also commented on the tone of the film, saying that “one of the things that appealed to me about the story is that it does have lighter moments. One of the things that kept Maziar alive was […]

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