'Rosewater': Jon Stewart's Political Drama Slated for November Release

Image: 'Rosewater': Jon Stewart's Political Drama Slated for November Release Comedian Jon Stewart.(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Friday, 01 Aug 2014 07:26 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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"Rosewater," Jon Stewart's political drama about real-life journalist Maziar Bahari, is slated to make its debut in U.S. theaters on Nov. 7, a date usually reserved for movies angling for Oscar buzz.

The film is based largely on "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival," Bahari's memoir (co-written by Aimee Molloy), and covers the 118 days the Iranian Canadian journalist spent in an Iranian jail in 2009. Bahari, who worked for the London-based BBC News and Newsweek at the time, was in the country covering the presidential election.

"In June 2009, [Bahari] returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, who was the prime challenger to controversial incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [in Iran]," Deadline.com wrote.

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"As Moussavi's supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad's victory declaration hours before the polls closed on election day, Bahari endured great personal risk by submitting camera footage of the unfolding street riots to the BBC. Bahari was soon arrested by Revolutionary Guard police, led by a man identifying himself only as 'Rosewater,' who proceeded to torture and interrogate the journalist over the next 118 days."

Bahari told National Public Radio in 2010 that the Iranians accused him of being a spy for the CIA, Israel's Mossad, and Britain's MI6. He was released after Oct. 17, 2009, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for his release.

"Before I was released, they asked me to sign a paper saying when I leave Iran, I'm going to cooperate with the government and I'm going to spy for the government," Bahari told NPR in 2010. "The first thing I did when I arrived in London was to send them an email . . . (and told them) that I have never spied for anyone and I'm not going to start spying for you. And that really bothered them."

Stewart, better known for his political comedy as displayed on the long-running "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," wrote, directed, and coproduced the movie with Scott Rudin and Gigi Pritzker, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reported that the film will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September before the Nov. 7 mass release. Actor Gael Garcia Bernal will portray Bahari in the film.

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