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Favreau, Jon

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Film, People.

(1966-    ) US filmmaker and actor, who has worked his way diligently up the directorial lists by a willingness to take on a wide range of studio projects across a range of fantasy genres. Already an established screen actor by the mid-nineties, he wrote and/or directed a series of films with Vince Vaughn, beginning with Swingers (1996), as well as a number of films and series episodes for television. After a hit with the Christmas comedy Elf (2003), he directed the effects-heavy family fantasy Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), which led to his involvement with the unrealized Paramount version of John Carter. When that production was closed down and the rights passed to Disney, he and key members of his team (including writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby) moved on to another long-developed sf property, the newly flush Marvel Studios' Iron Man (2008), intended as the first of a new franchise rollout aimed at a crossover universe; it delivered above expectation and established Iron Man as Marvel's top in-house property, with Favreau's similarly successful sequel Iron Man 2 (2010) leading to Joss Whedon's enormously successful team film The Avengers (2012). Favreau co-wrote another comedy with Vaughn, Couples Retreat [sic] (2009), and he and his team (initially including Iron Man lead Robert Downey Jr, though he did not last) were successfully wooed for the Paramount/DreamWorks project Cowboys & Aliens (2011), which played against their strengths in its strenuous avoidance of comedy, and proved a notable flop – as did the eventual Disney version of John Carter, in which he cameoed as a character voice. He declined to direct Iron Man 3 (2013), but continued to appear in his regular supporting role as Happy Hogan, and in the meantime has directed the pilot for the television series Revolution (2012-2013), about a world without Power Sources; he has also been attached to direct Disney's ongoing attempt at an sf-based Magic Kingdom film around its theme-park attractions, from a script worked on by Ronald D Moore and Michael Chabon. An actors' director whose best work has been with improvising performers, he owes his close association with sf less to a personal affinity for the genre than to having risen professionally in an industry where tentpole studio fantasy releases bank heavily on powerful stars. Nevertheless, his work with Downey in particular has encouraged a less top-down, more actor- and character-driven approach to Superhero cinema. [NL]

Jonathan Kolia Favreau

born New York: 19 October 1966


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