With Reporting by Josh Horowitz
Jon Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater," does not feature space ships, or expansive galaxies far, far away. That might not have been the case if Stewart had taken fellow filmmaker J.J. Abrams' advice to heart.
Speaking with MTV News, Stewart opened up about seeking advice from veteran filmmakers throughout the process of directing "Rosewater," based on the true story of a journalist wrongfully imprisoned and interrogated in Iran. When Stewart asked Abrams for guidance, the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" veteran had one major note:
"Where's the space ship?"
"'You're going to need a space ship,'" Stewart jokingly recalled. "'You're going to need something. The one thing I've learned is you don't want people to know it's a prison until the last show. You need that confusion. It's like an existential Hell — like 'Waiting for Gadot' — but they can't know.'"
Okay, so that conversation didn't really happen; that's just Stewart channeling his "Daily Show" madness before offering up a serious answer about the kind of insight he wanted from veteran filmmakers like Abrams, Ron Howard and Paul Thomas Anderson.
"A few people were generous enough to look at it," said Abrams. "They were never going to break it down like, 'Scene 1: Here's your problem. You can't have a guy just walk in and talk to ya. It's Iran.' But they could give me a sense of cohesiveness — what needs to be shaped, what needs to be more visual — just a general sense of viability as a film."
"Rosewater" is in theaters this weekend.