Also Credited As:Jonathan Kolia Favreau
|Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, Other|
|Jonathan Kolia Favreau on October 19, 1966 in Queens, New York, USA|
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Jon Favreau was born on Nov. 19, 1966, and raised in Queens, NY. The son of two schoolteachers, Favreau graduated from the acclaimed Bronx High School of Science before going on to Queens College, where he dropped out in favor of training for a potential comedy career. He moved to Chicago, the nation's hotbed of improv and sketch comedy, and studied comedy under improvisation guru Del Close at the Improv Olympic. He also enjoyed some professional success with local dinner theaters. Favreau had his first screen success when he was cast as the shy friend of Sean Astin's aspiring football player "Rudy" (1993) in David Anspaugh's biopic. A steadily employed actor, Favreau made guest appearances on TV series like "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998) and "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000) and landed character roles on such shows as "PCU" (1994) as a genial but dumb party guy, and in Alan Rudolph's "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" (1994) as Elmer Rice.
Favreau continued to land small roles in films like "Batman Forever" (1995) while living in East Hollywood and spending evenings with fellow show business hopefuls in the retro cocktail club scene. Following the age-old adage "write what you know," he turned out a script based on his friends and himself in two weeks, and after pounding the pavement for a time, attracted some attention from producers. They wanted to cast name actors, but Favreau saw the movie as a vehicle for himself and his slick, fast-talking friend Vince Vaughn, so he eventually sold the rights to director Doug Liman, who was willing to cast close to home. Made on a shoestring budget, the film's realistic portrayal of twenty-something life, cool pop culture homages to Tarantino and Scorsese, and charismatic performances from Favreau and scene-stealing Vaughn earned respectful reviews and became an arthouse hit that elevated both actors' careers up to the next level.
Though obviously the heart and soul behind "Swingers," the less showy Favreau stood in the shadow of Vaughn's new stardom. If it did bother him, he did not let it show publicly, instead forging on by landing recurring roles on the sketch show "Tracey Takes On " (HBO, 1996-99) and "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004) and had a supporting film role in the disaster thriller "Deep Impact" (1998). Favreau moved into leading man territory with his starring role opposite Cameron Diaz and Christian Slater in the little-seen but deliciously dark crime comedy "Very Bad Things" (1998). His love of sports and his solid frame landed him in HBO's 1999 biopic "Rocky Marciano," where he took on the daunting task of portraying the undefeated heavyweight boxing champ.
The rote football comedy "The Replacements" (2000) hardly lived up to his prior achievement in the ring. Favreau returned to the realm of appealingly neurotic suitor in the romantic comedy "Love and Sex" (2000), opposite the seemingly out-of-his-league Famke Janssen, before writing and directing "Made" (2001). He and Vaughn co-starred in the largely improvised mob comedy about a pair of aspiring but inept mafia side men, which featured some genuinely hilarious banter between Favreau, Vaughn and co-stars Peter Falk, Sean Combs and Faizon Love. With his rising profile, Favreau developed two lucrative side careers as a script doctor for studio films and as a voice-over actor on animated series, including "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command" (ABC, 2000-01) and "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999-2002; 2005- ).
Using his expanding Hollywood connections and hip cache as an indie filmmaker, Favreau launched "Dinner For Five" (IFC, 2001- ), a television series in which he joined four guests from the world of film at a Los Angeles restaurant and the quintet shared anecdotes from their lives and careers. The show was occasionally weighted down by self-congratulatory insiderism, but nonetheless provided a unique perspective into the workings of a broad spectrum of Hollywood professionals. Favreau's next major screen role, as the law partner and comic foil to Ben Affleck's blind alter ego in the super hero film "Daredevil" (2003), would unwittingly begin to nudge his career towards his ultimate success in the comic book/sci-fi genre. But before that transformation, Favreau proved himself as a director capable of helming a mainstream feature hit with the charming holiday comedy "Elf" (2003). Will Ferrell starred as an oafish but innocent human raised by North Pole elves, who finally discovers his true heritage. Favreau breathed fresh life into a script that had long kicked around Hollywood, adapting the scenarios to best suit Ferrell's loopy comic outlook and sprinkling holiday-related pop culture references throughout the film.
For his next directorial effort, Favreau took on "Zathura: A Space Adventure" (2005), an adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's illustrated novel about an adventure board game that comes to life, rocketing two squabbling brothers into orbit and into battle against evil Zorgons. As with "Elf," Favreau again showed an assured, expert touch with all-ages material, respecting his audience's intelligence while delivering family friendly fare. Critics cheered his achievement, but unfortunately the film was a financial flop that only earned back half its budget. In 2006, Favreau reappeared in front of the camera, buddying up with tried and true comic foil Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston in the blockbuster romantic comedy "The Break-up."
In his biggest career achievement yet, Favreau served as executive producer and director of 2008's Marvel Comics adaptation "Iron Man," the highly anticipated first film produced under a fresh deal between Paramount and Marvel. Robert Downey, Jr. starred as Tony Stark, the weapons designer who develops a technologically advanced suit of armor to overcome Afghani captors, then returns home to the United States with superhero powers. A massive marketing campaign and tie-in deals with toy and fast-food companies made "Iron Man," which also featured Favreau as sidekick Happy Hogan, one of the highest-profile movie of that summer. He followed up with the equally successful, but less well-received sequel "Iron Man 2" (2010), which had all the action and stunning visual effects of its predecessor, but little of its strong narrative or emotional heft. Continuing to helm blockbuster action flicks based on comic books, Favreau directed the highly anticipated "Cowboys & Aliens" (2011), an interesting blend of the science fiction and Western genres about a mysterious stranger (Daniel Craig) who shows up as an unwelcome guest in the Old West town of Absolution wearing a strange bracelet that he later discovers helps battle aliens. In 2012, Favreau made a surprising shift to directing television, helming the pilot episode of the high-concept adventure series "Revolution" (NBC, 2012- ), as well as one of the final episodes of the long-running sitcom "The Office" (NBC, 2005-2013). Continuing his acting work, he returned as Happy Hogan for "Iron Man 3" (2013) while Shane Black took up the writing and directing reins, and he also appeared in Martin Scorsese's financial drama "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013). His next triple-threat performance, as director, writer, and star, came in the indie comedy-drama "Chef" (2014), about a respected chef who decides to open a food truck and reconnect with his passion for cooking.