Jon Stewart has tapped Gael Garcia Bernal to star in his feature directorial debut "Rosewater," TheWrap has learned.
Scott Rudin is producing with Stewart and Gigi Pritzker of OddLot Entertainment, which is financing the film.
Stewart is taking a 12-week hiatus from hosting Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" in order to make the movie. "Daily Show" correspondent John Oliver will take over hosting duties for eight weeks during Stewart's absence.
Stewart wrote the script, which is adapted from Maziar Bahari's 2011 book "Then They Came For Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity and Survival," which he co-wrote with Aimee Molloy.
"Rosewater" is a passion project for Stewart, who optioned the book through his Busboy Productions banner.
Story follows Bahari (Bernal), a journalist who leaves his pregnant fiancée behind in London while he travels to Iran to spend a week covering the country's presidential elections. Instead, he winds up spending 118 days in a notorious Iranian prison where he is brutally interrogated by a man whose defining characteristic is the smell of rosewater.
In a twist of fate, Bahari's appearance on "The Daily Show" was used against him when he was accused of being a spy.
Bernal recently starred in Pablo Larrain's "No" and produced "Chavez," which stars Michael Pena. He's repped by WME.