Jon Favreau Discusses His Time With IRON MAN and the Allure of THE MAGIC KINGDOM

     December 14, 2010


We learned earlier today that Jon Favreau will not direct Iron Man 3, instead focusing his attention on The Magic Kingdom.  Without too much speculation about what this means for the superhero sequel, this news wield connotations both good and bad.

The bad: Favreau played a major role in making the Iron Man universe so much fun in the first place.  On some level, it would have been nice to see him work with Robert Downey Jr. on the series in perpetuity.  The good: This obviously opens up Favreau to other projects — to spread the wealth, as it were.  He’s got a head start with the wonderful-looking Cowboys & Aliens, and The Magic Kingdom is pure potential.

While in post-production on Cowboys & Aliens, Favreau took the time to reflect on his experience with the Iron Man franchise and look forward to taking on The Magic Kingdom.  Hit the jump to hear what he had to say.

Favreau is understandably grateful for the opportunity that Marvel provided in handing him the keys to Iron Man.  Prior to 2008, Favreau’s filmography as a director — Made, Elf, Zathura — certainly showed promise.  But the world of blockbuster filmmaking, epitomized by Iron Man, is a whole different beast.  Favreau explained to Hero Complex:

“Marvel and I both came of age together. The years that we shared were a pivotal experience. Kevin has a firm grasp on the many franchises and how they all interweave and I am happy that I had the opportunity to establish the world that these characters can now play in…. Iron Man has given me tremendous opportunities and Kevin and I are enjoying a lot of momentum in our careers thanks to the Iron Man films. I look forward to seeing what others can do playing in the same world.”

Let us hope that Marvel is able to provide a stage for another filmmaker on the level of Favreau with their vast slate of films.  (The Avengers director Joss Whedon seems poised to seize feature film, no?)

It seems odd to refer to The Magic Kingdom, so clearly a giant studio film, as a passion project.  But given its target demo and fantastical resources, Disney makes a personal connection with the viewer that is beyond the capability of virtually every other studio.  Favreau knows this well:

“Between the theme parks and the movies, the Disney iconography was probably the first set of archetypes that I was exposed to. Walt [Disney] was able to expose me as a child to the full array of emotions, including fear and sorrow. Those movies and attractions haunted my dreams  and made a deep impression on me as a child. When I first heard about the [Magic Kingdom film] project, I was on my way to visit Disneyland with my family. I took notes and had no problem filling a book with all the ideas that this concept offered, even on first blush. Since then, I was lucky enough to be given a tour of Imagineering by Tony Baxter, who knows just about everything there is to know about Disneyland. He pulled original concept art from the archives for me and exposed me to Walt’s original vision.”

I don’t know if Favreau ever plans to work with less than $100 million for a budget again, but he has not forgotten his roots.  Before he was “the director of Iron Man,” he was “the director of Elf.”  To some, Favreau may still be the latter, a fact he takes pride in:

“I can’t begin to tell you how fulfilling the perennial nature of Elf on television has been for me.  It’s great to be able to connect parents with children both emotionally and through humor. I look forward to exploring family entertainment once again and examining the specifics of our day-to-day lives against the backdrop of an extraordinary adventure.”

Cowboys & Aliens hits theaters on July 29, 2011.  Can’t wait.


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