Jon Favreau

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This article is about the actor and filmmaker. For the speechwriter, see Jon Favreau (speechwriter).
Jon Favreau
Jon Favreau Deauville 2014.jpg
Favreau in 2014
Born Jonathan Kolia Favreau
(1966-10-19) October 19, 1966 (age 49)
Flushing, Queens, New York, U.S.
  • Actor
  • filmmaker
  • comedian
Years active 1992–present
Spouse(s) Joya Tillem (m. 2000)
Children 3

Jonathan Kolia "Jon" Favreau[1] (/ˈfævr/; born October 19, 1966) is an American actor, filmmaker and comedian. As an actor, he is best known for his roles in Rudy, Swingers (which he also wrote), Very Bad Things, The Break-Up, and Chef. His notable directorial efforts include Elf, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys & Aliens, and Chef. He also served as an executive producer on The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. His most prominent television role was that of Pete Becker, Monica Geller's boyfriend during season three of the television sitcom Friends. He produces films under his banner Fairview Entertainment. The company has been credited as co-producers in most of Favreau's directorial ventures.

Early life[edit]

Favreau was born in Flushing, Queens, New York, the son of Madeleine, an elementary school teacher who died of leukemia in 1979, and Charles Favreau, a special education teacher.[2] His mother was Jewish (of Russian Jewish descent),[3] and his father is a Catholic of Italian and French-Canadian ancestry.[4][5][6] Favreau attended Hebrew school and had a Bar Mitzvah.[7]

Favreau graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1984[8] and attended Queens College from 1984 to 1987,[9] before dropping out. His friend from college, Mitchell Pollack, said that Favreau went by the nickname "Johnny Hack" because of his talent in the game Hacky Sack.[10] He briefly worked for Bear Stearns on Wall Street before returning to Queens College for a semester in early 1988. He dropped out of college for good (a few credits shy of completing his degree),[9] and in the summer of 1988, moved to Chicago to pursue a career in comedy.[11] He performed at several Chicago improvisational theaters, including the ImprovOlympic and the Improv Institute.[citation needed]


Early career[edit]

While in Chicago, Favreau landed his first film role alongside Sean Astin as the pudgy tutor D-Bob in the classic sleeper hit Rudy (1993). Favreau met Vince Vaughn – who played a small role in this film – during shooting. The next year, he appeared in the college film PCU alongside Jeremy Piven, and also stepped into the world of television in the 1994 episode of Seinfeld titled "The Fire" as Eric the Clown. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he made his breakthrough in 1996 as an actor-screenwriter with the film Swingers, which was also Vaughn's breakthrough role as the glib and extremely confident Trent Walker, a perfect foil to Favreau's heartbroken Mike Peters. In 1997, he appeared on the popular TV sitcom Friends, portraying Pete Becker, whom Monica Geller dates for several episodes, and who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Favreau made appearances in the sketch-comedy series, Tracey Takes On... in both 1996 and 1997.[citation needed]

He rejoined Piven in 1998 as part of Very Bad Things (1998). In 1999, he starred in the TV movie Rocky Marciano, based on the life of the only undefeated world heavyweight champion. He later appeared in Love & Sex (2000), co-starring Famke Janssen. Favreau appeared in 2000's The Replacements as maniacal linebacker Daniel Bateman, and that same year he played himself in The Sopranos episode "D-Girl", as a Hollywood director who feigns interest in developing mob associate Christopher Moltisanti's screenplay in order to collect material for his own screenplay.[citation needed]

He was a guest-director for an episode of the college dramedy Undeclared in 2001, and Favreau got some screen time as lawyer Foggy Nelson in the 2003 movie Daredevil (2003) (considerably more in the Director's Cut version). He also starred in The Big Empty, directed by Steve Anderson. His character was John Person, an out of work actor given a strange mission to deliver a blue suitcase to a man named Cowboy in the desert.[citation needed]


Favreau at an Iron Man photo call in Mexico City, April 2008

In 2001, he made his film directorial debut with another self-penned screenplay, Made. Made once again teamed him up with his Swingers co-star Vince Vaughn. In the fall of 2003, he scored his first financial success as a director of the hit comedy Elf starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, and Peter Dinklage. Also in 2003, Favreau had a small part in Something's Gotta Give (a film starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson); Favreau played Leo, Harry Sanborn's (Nicholson) personal assistant, who visited Harry in the hospital. In 2005, Favreau directed the film adaptation of Zathura. Never to turn his back on acting, Favreau still makes regular appearances in film and television. He reunited with friend Vince Vaughn in the much-hyped hit romantic comedy The Break-Up and appeared in My Name Is Earl as a reprehensible fast food manager. Favreau also made a guest appearance in Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show.[citation needed]

Also in 2005, Favreau appeared as a guest judge and executive representative of Sony corporation in week five of NBC primetime reality TV business show, The Apprentice. He was called upon to judge the efforts of the show's two teams of contestants, who were assigned the task of designing and building a float to publicise his 2005 Sony Pictures movie, Zathura.[citation needed]

Favreau also has a TV series called Dinner for Five which airs on the cable TV channel IFC. On April 28, 2006, it was announced that Favreau was signed to direct the long awaited Iron Man movie.[12] Released on May 2, 2008, the film was a huge critical[13] and commercial[14] success, solidifying Favreau's reputation as a director.[citation needed]

Iron Man was the first Marvel-produced movie under their alliance with Paramount, and Favreau served as the director and an executive producer. During early scenes in Iron Man, Favreau appears as Tony Stark's loyal friend, and driver, Happy Hogan. He also wrote two issues of a planned mini-series for Marvel Knights titled Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas, that debuted in September 2008 before being cancelled in November 2008.[15] Favreau also directed the film's sequel, Iron Man 2.[citation needed] in 2008 he played Denver in Four Christmases with Vince Vaughn.

Favreau with Robert McCurdy, Cole Dabney, Jaime Presley after press junket interview for I Love You, Man at SXSW 2009

Favreau was the third director attached to John Carter of Mars, the film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' swashbuckling space hero. While he did not ultimately direct it, he did have a cameo in the film, as a bookie.

Favreau co-starred in 2009's Couples Retreat, a comedy chronicling four couples who partake in therapy sessions at a tropical island resort, which he also wrote. The film saw him reunited with co-star Vince Vaughn, and Kristin Davis played his wife.[16]

He voices the character Pre Vizsla, the leader of the Mandalorian Death Watch, in the episodes of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.[citation needed]

Favreau said in December 2010 that he would not direct Iron Man 3, opting to direct Magic Kingdom instead. He also remained an executive producer of director Joss Whedon's The Avengers.[17][18]

In July 2011, Favreau was featured in a YouTube video by visual effects artists Freddie Wong and Brandon Laatsch (known on YouTube as the popular channel, "freddiew"), in a spoof of his then-upcoming summer film, Cowboys & Aliens. He lent the movie's iconic gauntlet prop to Wong & Laatsch for use in the short.[citation needed]

Favreau at the Austin, Texas premiere of I Love You, Man, March 13, 2009

Favreau has shown interest in directing a film adaptation to Christian Gossett's The Red Star.[citation needed]

Favreau directed the pilot for the NBC show Revolution, and also served as one of the show's executive producers, alongside J. J. Abrams.[citation needed]

In 2013, he shot a pilot for a TV series based on the novel About a Boy, but set in San Francisco.[19] He also directed the Destiny trailer named "The Law of the Jungle." Favreau is also set to direct The Jungle Book for Disney, which is set for an April 15, 2016 release.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Favreau married physician Joya Tillem on November 24, 2000. The couple have three children: a son, Max, born July 25, 2001, and two daughters, Madeleine, born April 2003, and Brighton Rose, born August 2006. Tillem is the niece of lawyer/talk show host Len Tillem.[21]

Favreau credits the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons with giving him "...a really strong background in imagination, storytelling, understanding how to create tone and a sense of balance."[22]


Further information: Jon Favreau filmography
Favreau at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International.
Title Release date Studio Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes
Made July 13, 2001 Artisan Entertainment $5 million $5 million 71%
Elf November 7, 2003 New Line Cinema $33 million $220 million 84%
Zathura November 11, 2005 Columbia Pictures $65 million $64 million 75%
Iron Man May 2, 2008 Paramount Pictures
Marvel Studios
$140 million $585 million 93%
Iron Man 2 May 7, 2010 Paramount Pictures
Marvel Studios
$200 million $623 million 73%
Cowboys & Aliens June 29, 2011 Paramount Pictures
Universal Studios
$163 million $174 million 44%
Chef May 9, 2014 Open Road Films $11 million $46 million 86%
The Jungle Book April 15, 2016 Walt Disney Pictures
Year Film/TV Credited as Role
Producer Director Writer Actor
1992 Hoffa No No No Yes Extra
1993 Rudy No No No Yes D-Bob
1994 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle No No No Yes Elmer Rice
1994 Seinfeld No No No Yes Eric the Clown (1 episode)
1994 PCU No No No Yes Gutter
1995 Batman Forever No No No Yes Assistant
1996 Tracey Takes On... No No No Yes Douglas Lund
1996 Swingers Yes No Yes Yes Mike Peters
1996 Persons Unknown No No No Yes Terry
1997 Friends No No No Yes Pete Becker (6 episodes)
1997 Tracey Takes On... No No No Yes Douglas Lund
1998 Very Bad Things No No No Yes Kyle Fisher
1998 Deep Impact No No No Yes Dr. Gus Partenza
1999 Rocky Marciano No No No Yes Rocky Marciano
2000 Almost Famous No No No Yes Director
2000 Love & Sex No No No Yes Adam Levy
2000 The Replacements No No No Yes Daniel "Danny" Bateman
2001 Made Yes Yes Yes Yes Bobby Ricigliano
2001 The Sopranos No No No Yes Himself (episode "D-Girl")
2002 The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest No No Yes No
2002 Family Guy No No No Yes Donny Sciberra (episode: Road to Europe)
2003 Elf No Yes No Yes Doctor Ben
2003 Something's Gotta Give No No No Yes Leo
2003 Daredevil No No No Yes Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson
2003 The Big Empty Yes No No Yes John Person
2004 The King of Queens No No No Yes Sean McGee
2004 Wimbledon No No No Yes Ron Roth
2005 Zathura No Yes No No
2006 My Name Is Earl No No No Yes Mr. Patrick
2006 The Break-Up No No No Yes Johnny O
2006 Open Season No No No Yes Reilly (Voice)
2006 Monk No No No Yes Dr. Oliver Bloom (Episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist")
2008 Iron Man Yes Yes No Yes Happy Hogan
2008 Four Christmases No No No Yes Denver McVie
2009 Robot Chicken No No No Yes Zeus, race announcer #1 (episode: "Two Weeks Without Food")
2009 I Love You, Man No No No Yes Barry
2009 G-Force No No No Yes Hurley the Guinea Pig (voice)
2009 Couples Retreat No No Yes Yes Joey
Star Wars: The Clone Wars No No No Yes Pre Vizsla (voice) (TV series: 6 episodes)
2010 Iron Man 2 Yes Yes No Yes Happy Hogan
2011 Zookeeper No No No Yes Bear (voice)
2011 Cowboys & Aliens Yes Yes No No
2012 John Carter No No No Yes Thark Bookie[23]
2012 The Avengers Yes No No No Executive producer
2012 People Like Us No No No Yes Richards
2012 Revolution Yes Yes No No Directed "Pilot" episode, executive producer
2013 The Office No Yes No No TV series (Episode "Moving On")
2013 Identity Thief No No No Yes Harold Cornish
2013 Iron Man 3 Yes No No Yes Happy Hogan, also executive producer[24]
2013 The Wolf of Wall Street No No No Yes Manny Riskin
2014 Chef Yes Yes Yes Yes Carl Casper, also producer
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Yes No No No Executive producer
2015 Term Life[25] No No No Yes
2015 Entourage No No No Yes Jon Favreau
2016 The Shannara Chronicles Yes No No No Executive producer
2016 The Jungle Book Yes Yes No No


  1. ^ "Jonathan Kolia Favreau".
  2. ^ Jewel, Dan (November 25, 1996)."Swing and a Hit". People. vol. 46, #22.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ryan, James (October 13, 1996). "A Hollywood Scene He Knows Too Well". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (December 26, 2003). "A Gift From Santa's Jewish Helpers".
  6. ^ Stack, Peter (October 18, 1996). "Jon Favreau's `Swingers' -- It's a Guy Thing". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  7. ^ "The Arty Semite". blog.
  8. ^ Austin, Ben (August 5, 2011). "Jon Favreau ('84) Succeeds Again With Cowboys & Aliens". The Bronx High School of Science Alumni Association & Endowment Fund. 
  9. ^ a b Suter, Bob (Fall 2006). "Lighting Up the Arts: Extraordinary Queens College Alumni Who Have Gone on to Successful Careers in the Arts" (PDF). Q Magazine. Queens College. 
  10. ^ Bowles, Scott (May 7, 2010). "Favreau's a Comic-Book Hero"'. USA Today. pp. 1D-2D.
  11. ^ "Jon Favreau" Retrieved 10 August 2015
  12. ^ Kit, Borys (April 28, 2006). "Marvel Studios outlines slew of superhero titles". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 13, 2006. Retrieved April 29, 2006. 
  13. ^ Yamato, Jen (May 1, 2008). "Iron Man is the Best-Reviewed Movie of 2008!". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Iron Man (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Behind the Scenes of Iron Man with Director Jon Favreau". page 2,
  16. ^ "Trio of Ladies Going on Couples Retreat". TV Guide. October 15, 2008. Retrieved on October 15, 2008.
  17. ^ Sneider, Jeff (December 14, 2010). "No Favreau? 10 Directors Who Could Take Over 'Iron Man 3'", WebCitation archive.
  18. ^ "Jon Favreau Will Not Direct Iron Man 3". "Vulture" (column). New York. December 14, 2010. Retrieved on December 14, 2010.
  19. ^ "NBC Pilot Filmed in San Francisco". 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  20. ^ "Disney Sets Release Dates for Alice in Wonderland 2 and The Jungle Book". Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Len Tillem Program (On air discussion). KGO radio, San Francisco. December 29, 2008.
  22. ^ Boucher, Geoff (May 5, 2008). "Jon Favreau is the action figure behind 'Iron Man'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2008. 
  23. ^ Woerner, Meredith. "Why Jon Favreau is glad he's not directing John Carter". io9. 
  24. ^ Nicholson, Max. "Guess Who's Back for Iron Man 3?". IGN. 
  25. ^ Jon Favreau Joins Universal Crime Thriller ‘Term Life’

External links[edit]