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Exclusive: Jon Stewart Options Maziar Bahari's Life Story for Feature Project

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 22, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 22, 2010 |

This is some bad ass news from the bad ass Hollywood Cog. First, some context: Maziar Bahari is an Iranian Canadian journalist,and a regular reporter for Newsweek. Last year, during the Iranian Election Protests, Bahari was arrested by the Iranian government and charged, falsely, of being a spy for Mossad, CIA, MI6, and even Newsweek. He was imprisoned for 118 days. During his imprisonment, Bahari actually confessed that he was a spy due, in part, to an interview with Jason Jones, a correspondent of “The Daily Show,” where Jones was dressed as a spy as a joke. During that imprisonment, he was also interrogated daily and made to wear a blindfold. He was eventually released, but he still faces charges in Iran, and can’t return to the country.

After Bahari’s release, he gave several interviews, one of which was on “The Daily Show,” and Stewart’s opening salvo was, “You were imprisoned in Iran…” Bahari’s response: “Yes. Because of you.” Here’s another key exchange from that interview:

Stewart: We hear so much about the banality of evil, but so little about the stupidity of evil.

Bahari: Evil is stupid…you know, whenever you take anything to the extremes you see the humor in it and you see the stupidity in it. I think what the Iranian government did, and what my interrogator as the representative of the Iranian government was doing to me, was stupid and funny at the same time. It was not funny while I was in the interrogation room (laugh) blindfolded in a dark room, being beaten - that was not funny. But when I was going back to my cell - I had to laugh. That was my defense mechanism.

Stewart: They say comedy is imprisonment plus time.

So, anyway, after Jon Stewart met Bahari on his show, Stewart — being the awesome dude that he is — decided to purchase the life rights to Bahari’s life, which is the subject of a forthcoming non-fiction book, and turn it into a feature project. There’s not yet any studio involvement, but Stewart’s production company, Busboy Productions, is seeking a writer and director to take on the project.

And thus was born the Untitled Maziar Bahari project. “The Daily Show” producer, Rich Korson, along with Jon Stewart, will be producing the pic.

And here’s the full interview where Stewart and Bahari met, which initiated this development.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Maziar Bahari
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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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