American political satirist Jon Stewart has added another string to his bow: screenwriter and film director. His directorial debut Rosewater- which he also wrote and produced- has just launched its first trailer.

Jon StewartStewart is better known as a political satirist but has also cameoed in several big name movies

The film is based on the memoir of London-based journal Maziar Bahari, 'Then They Came for Me', which tells the story of his 100-day imprisonment in Iran under suspicion of spying. The film is set against the backdrop of the 2008 Iran elections which caused shockwaves around the world after incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner in what many Iranians declared a fraudulent election. 

In order to film Rosewater, Stewart took a three month hiatus from his popular current affairs satirical show, ‘The Daily Show’ in mid-2013. He was replaced by British comedian John Oliver, who has since gone on to host ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’.

The film is part of Toronto Film Festival’s official selection and is scheduled for wide release in November this year. The trailer is a harrowing affair which sees Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, best known for his performance as a young Che Guevara in 2004’s The Motorcycle Diaries, portray the imprisoned journalist. The title comes from the name by which Bahari referred to his captor, who he could not see as he was blindfolded, but smelt distinctly of rosewater. 

Due to its subject matter, the film has already caused controversy in Iran, and Stewart has been accused by Iran's State TV of being funded by Zionists and working with the CIA. Nevertheless, Rosewater looks intriguing and given the current political climate, is sure to be one of TIFF's most talked-about films this year. Only time will tell if Stewart is as good at making films about the news as he is at commenting on it.

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