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Gael García Bernal is so damn gorgeous. (I'm sorry; I know meaningful words were spoken. I will go back and watch again.)


EDIT: They got a standing ovation at TIFF, and Maziar took a selfie with Jon and Gael to mark the moment. Aww. I love that Jon and Maziar seem to be very much in this project together.

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This is a nice interview with Brian Tallerico, at RogerEbert.com.


How you fight the apprehension that comes from a white man telling an Iranian story? Or do you just have people around you to protect you from that concern?

You have to own it. You can’t pretend that you’re not. That’s what I did. The kind of thing that I wanted to do was create what I called a “quiet inauthenticity.” I was never going to capture it with the nuance of Farhadi and all the great Iranian filmmakers. Knowing that, I wasn’t going to pretend that I was. Which means the accents are not true. I have actors from eight different countries. I tried to create a kind of patina of accent that was not particularly recognizable to any region. It exists in its own indescript world. It exists in a world that you probably can’t peg as anything. But as long as it’s not too discordant. I wanted the inauthenticity to not be so egregious so as to register and remove you from the storytelling. Since I can’t capture the authenticity I have to create a world of, sort of…


That’s correct. That’s what you hope. I said to Maziar, “We’ll do this in Farsi.” He said, “Why? You don’t speak Farsi.” “Oh, right, OK.”

On the review front, there are both positive and lukewarm reviews coming out of Toronto. This is mostly a lukewarm review, but I appreciated the point he was making. It was a better read than the ones that were either all "yay, Jon!" or "don't quit your day job."

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It's Buzzfeed I know, but it's a pretty interesting interview.


A well done interview by Entertainment Weekly. This part made me laugh.

So we were all there, and I had set up green-screens that were maybe 15×20 up on the overpass, and there were no moorings to it so we had to have people holding it up while Gael was standing in front of the overpass. The crowd was walking past and it was beautiful, and then, who would’ve thought that it might get windy. So as the wind started coming in and as the green-screens turned into human kites, there was a gentleman who had been working with us the whole time, very quiet—I assumed that he didn’t speak English—and he turns to me and said, “Nice job, Spielberg.”


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Yeah, I couldn't quite get through that one. I liked the enthusiasm, but calm down, dude.
I enjoyed reading these reviews, although they are less effusive: Serving Cinema, Mashable, and ScreenCrush. They all review it in the light of who Jon is and isn't, and what that means even to the process of reviewing it and being an audience member. That's probably the biggest hurdle for the movie, for better or worse; I think in one of these interviews (can't remember now which one), Jon alluded to a sense of guilt that his name carried its own weight into the material.
Mike Ryan at ScreenCrush summed it up pretty well:

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 their 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.

Jon Stewart made an OK movie. And, again, as a first time filmmaker, ‘Rosewater’ shows a lot of promise – and I really hope Stewart decides to make more movies, mostly because I suspect that he’ll be more confident with some of the stylistic choices he made. He sometimes seems to dabble instead of going “all in.” But, not many first time filmmakers will have the amount of attention that Stewart is experiencing – which is both a good thing for ‘Rosewater’ and bad thing for ‘Rosewater.’

On Instagram: "Jon Stewart looking very directorial in the studio for Rosewater." Not quite the behind-the-scenes image I was expecting, but I can't complain. It's a great shot.

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USA Today "review"


IGN review

Rosewater's a competent 1st feature for Jon Stewart, putting his political & humanist observational skills to the test.


Timeout New York review

Often on fire behind his Daily Show desk, Jon Stewart turns out to be a merely okay director, judging from this sincere yet serviceable political drama. It's the smallest of disappointments: Why is this gonzo figurehead paying it safe? Nonetheless, Stewart's hardcore fans may give him a pass, especially since Rosewater is cosmic repayment to one of his guests, who found himself imprisoned as a result of the media exposure.


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An actually informative Canada AM video interview with Jon and Maziar.


BBC video interview.


Guardian text interivew.

In my original conversations with Maziar, the plan was to do this in Farsi and have an all-Persian cast. He was the one who said: “Jon, I really don’t want to do that. I want it to be in English and I want it to be as universal as it possibly can be.”


Really great interview with Rolling Stones.

Say the word torture and you immediately think of waterboarding. But there's an institutionalized, bureaucratic form of torture that is utilized by governments, and while Maziar certainly suffered physically, the isolation seemed to be the hardest part. It just psychologically breaks you down...I wanted the violence in the film to be like the shark in Jaws. You constantly felt its presence, it loomed malevolently, and when it does appear, you really feel the effect of it that much more.

This exchange made me laugh:

Is that going to be weird, experiencing that from the other side of the desk?
I've done promotional stuff before, like when we did the books and I had some stand-up specials. I was on Crossfire once, if you may recall.


ETA: A quasi NPR review. I have a feeling Jon will be on Fresh Air promoting this movie...just a hunch.

This film could have felt important and moving even were it not solidly made, but it is solidly made. It could have used a bit of restraint in a few places, but it's a lovely piece of work with a fine performance from Gael Garcia Bernal. This Jon Stewart guy could be somebody.


Edited by maculae
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If you're able to go to BFI London Film Festival, Jon will be doing a Screen Talk with Maziar.

The Debate Talk will take place on Oct 12 after the European premiere of Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater.


I wonder how the movie will do with international audiences. It seemed like the big draw for Telluride and Toronto was the fact that it's Jon Stewart. I don't think he's as big in the UK (I could be completely wrong), so this is probably going to be more about the movie than the man behind the movie for this festival.

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I don't know what's wrong (perhaps it's geoblocked?), but I can't get the interview to play no matter how many different browsers I try. My life hates me. It's as though it's telling me, "Stop playing! Go back to your studies!" But I want to play once in a while.

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Variety: Distribution rights to Rosewater have been sold in the UK and in Australia.

The Works UK Distribution will hold the film’s European premiere in the UK on Sunday at the BFI London Film Festival and will release the film in March. Transmission Films will release the film in Australia in January.

The US release date is November 14th.


EDIT: There was pleasant buzz today on Twitter from the BFI London Film Festival. The Daily Mail has pictures of Jon taking pictures in the rain on the red carpet... plus a rather tortured, hilarious description of him that is fixated on his height and fashion sense. Here's a positive review from Box Office Buz and a negative one from Pajiba. Andrew Marr also interviewed Jon and Maziar Bahari this morning. Here is the video, which is unfortunately only viewable in the UK. (BBC.com has a bit of it up.)


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It just seems like reddit has generally hated his recent stuff on white privilege, racism, feminism, income inequality, etc. That said, I don't think it would end up like the Ann Coulter AMA or anything. (Yikes.)


I'm kind of looking forward to the chaos of Twitter. Hee.


EDIT: Twitter HQ is getting excited to see Jon and Maziar. (The chat is in one hour.)

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Jon and Maziar have been on the road taking Rosewater across the country. They had a screening and Q&A at Twitter HQ, the Apple Campus, UC Berkeley Journalism School, and the Chicago Council(?).


Here are some interviews from Chicago:



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@maculae, thank you for those links.


I could hardly believe that Jon associated himself with deep dish pizza. Why, Jon? What's happened to you? (But, seriously, I loved that WGN interview. Maziar and Jon show their great chemistry, and it ends on a Lindsey Graham impression. When Jon mentioned Sunday morning talk shows, though, I couldn't stop thinking two things: why won't this interviewer ask him about Meet The Press, and how hilariously wrong would it have been for MTP-Jon to interview Graham in that voice?)


That Fox32 interview raises a good question. What would a movie about Jon focus on? Also, would the soundtrack be composed by the Boss? Would Jon be played by Tom Cruise or Ben Stiller, or would it be a muppet movie? Would Shia LaBeouf be cast as Tucker Carlson? And would it even be possible for a movie or documentary to be made about him that wasn't hopelessly romanticized, politicized, or both?

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I haven't forgotten his pizza indiscretion, but I'll temporarily ignore it for a nice picture with Maziar. Here are some more of Jon. This story was cute:

I set up my bubble gum pink paper backdrop in a Chicago hotel on Friday to take a moment of Jon Stewart's time between interviews he was giving on his film 'Rosewater'.  While I shot I told him that my girlfriend and mother had ( separately ) both told me to tell him that they loved him…to which he told me it was a difficult choice but that he’d have to go with my mom… so umm I guess Jon Stewart is my new dad ( sorry old dad ).

Victor the Crab, that honestly looks really good, but do they make cheese-less deep dish? Or, how could I pick the cheese out? I'm doomed by my lactose intolerance, you see... It's a sad life.

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For everyone who wants to Jon and Stephen together again, Stephen will be interviewing Jon about Rosewater.


Buy tickets here.

Rosewater: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Live will be showcased in select cinemas nationwide on November 13 live at 7:30 p.m  EST (tape delayed in other time zones).


Join Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and special guest Maziar Bahari, for a full-length advanced screening of Jon Stewart’s highly-anticipated film, Rosewater, before its November 14 release.
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Only one location in Georgia, and it's apparently already sold out. Why do you have to be a dick about everything, Georgia?

Are you sure it's sold out? My theater didn't have the buy ticket option listed until today. The other theater nearby doesn't have the buy option available, but I called and they told me they haven't started selling it. Maybe they're going to list it later or you just can't buy it online.

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Oh, great finds, @maculae! That review was heartbreaking to read; it really brings home Jon and Maziar's point that it's not just about one journalist's isolated experience.


The LA Times article was great. I love reading about their friendship.

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Some TV appearances for Jon and Maziar:
CNN Reliable Sources today at 11am EST
CBS Sunday Morning today (the show starts at 9am EST)
Al Jazeera America on Tuesday at 8pm EST
He also had an interview with The Daily Beast.

Was it tough to leave The Daily Show for three months to shoot Rosewater? Any separation anxiety?

Let me think…. No! I’ve got a great group of people there, and I knew John [Oliver] would be flawless—his show is so great now, too—so I was never left with any trepidation about it of “Oh no, what will happen?” I knew. So, more or less, it was a gift that they gave.

Did you catch the filmmaking bug now? Are we going to see more Jon Stewart joints?

Well, I just view it as filmmaking, and not a separate profession from what I do on The Daily Show. I just hope I’ll continue to do work that lights a fire underneath me a little bit and gets me excited.

I understand your Daily Show contract is up in 2015. Are you going to stay, and what would make you continue to host the show?

It’s so hard to think about it in the crucible of finishing the movie up and everything else. It would be like making a decision about whether or not to keep exercising at mile 24 of a marathon. So, I’m gonna try and gain some distance and perspective so that when I make the decision, it’s not when my calves are cramping.

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A Night at the Newseum With Jon Stewart as Our Guide

In 2010, before the last midterms, Mr. Stewart organized a Rally to Restore Sanity on the National Mall, and on Sunday, he mused about whether the dysfunctional capital could ever restore its mental health.

“I think it was restored four years ago, and from what I understand, everything is going great now,” he deadpanned.

Accompanying Mr. Stewart was Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist whose imprisonment after the disputed 2009 elections in his home country inspired “Rosewater.” He joked that Mr. Stewart’s next Rally to Restore Sanity would be in Tehran.

Mr. Bahari lamented that tensions between Iran and the United States would continue because Americans and Iranians “don’t regard people in the other country as human beings, and they look at each other’s countries as a monolith.”

"Newseum" makes me think of this interview with Brian Williams. I wonder when he's going to visit the show again. I don't watch NBC Nightly News, so I have no thoughts on his work as a journalist, but I enjoy Williams as a television personality. Aren't they good friends, like Jon is with Gervais or Leary? They sure don't shy away from playing up their chemistry.
EDIT: Maziar will be interviewed by Brian Lehrer tomorrow. (So will one of Jon's unfavorite politicians. Heh. I can't tell which one Lehrer is excited about.)

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Interview with yahoo news.


You joked on CNN that you didn’t vote, and then it became a whole big thing. And to me, that became a microcosm of everything the internet and cable news are about.
Yeah. I mean the stupid thing there is that I was trying to avoid talking about the midterms because I wanted to talk about the movie, and stupidly…

And then everyone picks up on it, and it becomes its own thing.
That’s correct. And then you try to address it, and that itself becomes its own thing.

Interview with Texas Travesty with Jon and Maziar.

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Write up from Al-Monitor

The audience at Georgetown University was packed with students, some of whom had lined up as early as 4 a.m. to get a chance to see the movie and Stewart in person. Zoey Krulick, a senior, said Stewart “tried to display both sides of the issue and what real people were going through.”

Also among the crowd was a select group of invited foreign policy experts, some of whom said they were concerned about the potential political impact of the film in both the United States and Iran.

An article in the San Jose Mercury news

"When I came out of the room, I saw Jon hunched in a corner, hugging his three-legged dog, Little Dipper," Bahari recalls. "He was very nervous, but he didn't need to be. I told him it turned out beautifully. We hugged, and it was one of the seminal moments in our relationship."
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I need a gif to adequately express how I feel about that second quote, @maculae. That has to be the cutest thing said about their friendship thus far. Yep, my heart has turned to goo. It makes me think of the slightly-less-cute quote below, from Maziar's really brief chat with Boston Globe.

“I knew if [stewart] failed miserably, his failure would be more interesting than most people’s successes.” 



I'm going, too, @peeayebee... thanks to maculae!

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This is a hilarious interview of Jon and Maziar, with Red Eye Chicago. Anyone who dislikes Jon's interview style should appreciate this bit.

What have you learned about the interviewing process by being on the other side of the table?

JS: About having people come and interview you?
MB: How annoying it can be.
JS: [Laughs.] Yeah, I think I have an awareness now that it’s probably better to know what you’re talking about. Sometimes when I go into interviews and I’m clearly talking out of my ass, I realize now that that might annoy the people that I’m talking to.

This is a lesson that’s just settling in now?

JS: It’s just settling in now: “Oh, I should probably prepare for these. OK, now I’ve learned my lesson.” It’s only taken me 20 years.

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Interview with Ain't It Cool News

JS: J.J. and Ron Howard. Those guys. Paul [Thomas] Anderson. They gave me the sense of the viability of it. I wanted to send it to people that I really like and respect, but who do a different variety of things. Not so much for notes, because, look, they’re busy. But for that sense that they can look at it and go, “Look, man. I’ve done this for awhile. Why don’t you just turn this into an off-Broadway play? Do it like ‘Love Letters.’ It’ll run for years. Get Blythe Danner.”


Capone: That was Nathan Lane’s advice.


JS: [laughs] Right. But for the most part, it was to get confident in the viability of it.

Capone: Once you had an assembly cut, did you show it to other directors?


MB: Yeah. Some people who came on the show. I remember Robin Williams saw the rough cut. He liked it.

JS: Friends of mine would come by the show, so I showed it to Robin and Billy [Crystal] and some other people that had been there.


Another interview with Rolling Stone. Really good stuff about TDS and other things as well.

In the film, you pull the curtain back on The Daily Show by showing how Jason Jones conducts the interview. Did you hesitate about revealing the show's secrets?
Maybe we should have, but I didn't even think about it. We don't consider it a state secret. Hopefully, people will get a little kick out of it.

Times Talk live interview from last night.

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