One on One with Jon Stewart: Taking the jump from ‘The Daily Show’ to ‘Rosewater’

TELLURIDE – Mr. Stewart, if you read this article I believe the first few paragraphs may make you chuckle. Now, it's not because I'm a master wordsmith or unheralded comedic voice waiting to be discovered. No, after saying goodbye after our memorable interview on the patio of a Telluride restaurant Sunday afternoon, I turned and walked toward the street with my iPhone in hand. I'd stopped the recording of our chat and two choices appeared before me: delete or save. And, perhaps like a crazy person, I hit delete.

Then I realized I hit delete.

At that point, it was a mad dash back to my accommodations to jot down as much as I remembered from our conversation. Granted, this is something that has happened to the best reporters and journalists out there. Many times readers will read stories online or in print without realizing the content came from immediate memory. But, when you've made a movie about a journalist who spent 118 days in an Iranian jail being tortured for reporting the truth?  Well, not revealing that beforehand isn't gonna fly.

And, again, this might make you smile before you and your “Daily Show” staff try and try to find laughs in Israel's land grab in the West Bank for your next show.

As for our discussion on your new movie “Rosewater”…


There is a reason filmmakers such as Ken Burns, Alexander Payne and Alejandro González Iñárritu have returned to Telluride year after year, even when they have no films to screen. It's one of the rare film festivals in the world where the talent actually has time to see the other movies playing. That has not been the case for “Rosewater” director and screenwriter Jon Stewart.

The Emmy and Peabody Award winning host of “The Daily Show” made his first visit to Telluride this year, but has been so busy doing Q&As and interviews for his new movie he's had no time for fun. During an interview Sunday afternoon, I asked him if he was in “trouble” because of it and with a sheepish look that viewers around the world have seen for 15 years he replied, “Yes.”  You see, Stewart's former “Daily Show” colleague Steve Carell is also making his first sojourn to the annual Labor Day festival in honor of his own film, “Foxcatcher,” and he'd already seen Stewart's “Rosewater.” Ouch.