It’s impossible to separate 'Rosewater' from the personality that is Jon Stewart. On the surface, this statement makes little sense, because many films are deeply culturally intertwined with its director. But 'Rosewater' is a little different, because it’s a person not known for directing -- or even really acting, for that matter. Jon Stewart is famous, but famous for something almost completely unrelated. It would be as if Derek Jeter or Joe Biden directed a movie. The public curiosity with 'Rosewater' is all because of who directed 'Rosewater,' not what 'Rosewater' is about.
On Thursday, the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off and this marks (along with Venice Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival) that, yes, Oscar season just fired its starting gun. I will be headed to Toronto to cover the festival for ScreenCrush and, well, it's a little overwhelming. There are a lot of good movies! There's Benedict Cumberbatch playing WWII code breaker Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game'; and Jake Gyllenhaal as a sleazy freelance photographer in 'Nightcrawler,' and Jon Stweart's directorial debut, 'Rosewater'; and the Cannes darling, 'Foxcatcher,' starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo. And two -- count 'em -- TWO Adam Sandler movies that just might signal his long-awaited return to, let's say, well reviewed films with 'The Cobbler' and Jason Reitman's 'Men, Women & Children.' Anyway, I can't decide on my own, so we enlisted the help of a slew of respected film journalists who are also headed to TIFF and asked them what it is they are all looking forward to seeing.
Our first look at Jon Stewart's directorial debut has arrived in the 'Rosewater' trailer, showcasing a side of this funnyman we've never seen before. After years of making us laugh and sigh as the host of 'The Daily Show,' the beloved comedian has stepped behind the camera with a film that doesn't look like it has a single laugh in its entire running time, but it looks harrowing and fascinating all the same.
Jon Stewart may be one of the hardest working men on television, but it looks like he's about to take a break from hosting 'The Daily Show' for a few months. But he's not going on a vacation: he's going to direct a movie. 'Rosewater' will not only be Stewart's first time behind the camera, it will be something completely out of his regular wheelhouse.