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Jon Stewart plans hiatus from The Daily Show to direct Rosewater

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Jon Stewart will take a 3-month break from The Daily Show this summer to make his feature film debut.

(Deadline)Stewart has written the script, and will direct Rosewater, an adaptation of the book Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival. Published in 2011 by Random House, the book is Maziar Bahari’s harrowing ordeal of leaving London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential elections. With a pregnant fiance left behind, the BBC journalist expected to be away for a week. Instead, he spent the next 118 days in Iran’s most notorious prison being brutally interrogated by a man he knew only by one thing: he smelled of Rosewater. Bahari wrote the book with Aimee Molloy. Scott Rudin will produce with Stewart and Gigi Pritzker. Pritzker’s OddLot Entertainment is financing the film.

Stewart will take about 12 weeks off in the summer. In his absence, Daily Show regular John Oliver will be guest host for eight weeks of fresh shows.

Ambitious undertaking and a nice variation on the parade of TV variety show personalities who make their move to feature films often doing little more than big-screen variations of their familiar comedic persona. Stewart has played this close to his vest, quietly optioning Bahari’s book under auspices of his own, Busboy Productions. It’s always clear that Stewart can deftly shift between news satire in the first half ofThe Daily Show whenever the situation merits a more serious tone. It’s also clear that he’s one of the few late night hosts who not only interviews authors but actually takes time to read their books. Deadline expresses some strange surprise, unable to “remember when a well established daily talk show host has taken a hiatus like this to pursue a passion project” — because, right, we’ve all been wondering when Jay Leno would write direct his big-screen epic about collecting classic cars.