Saturday, April 15, 2017

My first celebrity interview in 2006 — Jon Favreau over MySpace!

Did you know actor-turned director Jon Favreau originally asked Marvel moviemakers about directing a Captain America film? And did you know he envisioned "Iron Man" as a "geopolitical" movie?

Jon Favreau circa 2012
That's what I learned nearly 11 years ago when I conducted my first Hollywood interview when "Iron Man" was still in the development stage!

And it all happened over one of the earliest versions of social media, MySpace. (Is that even around anymore?) Favreau had created an Iron Man page to take fans' questions or concerns they had about ol' Shellhead making the move to the big screen. And he answered hundreds upon hundreds!

Check out this transcript of the questions I asked Favreau in mid-May 2006. (I found this on the Superhero Hype! website, where this forums page will show you many more Q&As -- although none were as formal as mine.) Aside from correcting Favreau typing "Spiderman" with "Spider-Man" and putting my questions in bold, this is how it went down, starting with an editorial comment from Favreau to those fans posting on this particular MySpace thread. …

C'mon guys put the casting stuff in the casting thread so the Q & A doesn't get all cluttered. Here's some more:

Jon Favreau (right) played Franklin "Foggy" Nelson opposite Ben Affleck
(as Matt Murdock) in the 2003 "Daredevil" film.
Posted: May 18, 2006 3:42 PM CaryWrote:

Jon, First of all, congratulations on being named the "Iron Man" director. I'm absolutely thrilled to know someone who has been involved in super hero films is directing and developing the script of a character whose story longs to be a feature film.

Your role as Foggy Nelson in "Daredevil" was well done; Nelson's relationship with Matt Murdock was as close-knit and as strained as the best comics stories.

Here's my question. I am a newspaper reporter who writes a twice-monthly comic book column and does as many super hero-related A&E features as my editors will allow. It would be an honor (and a fanboy's dream) to interview you about your plans about "Iron Man" and your experience filming "Daredevil."

We may do this by phone or e-mail. Would you be willing to do this? If so, please send me a personal e-mail. Sincerely, Cary

Jon Favreau: If you don't want to go thru traditional PR channels, your best bet is to ask the questions right here.

Posted: May 25, 2006 9:19 AM CaryWrote:

Jon, Reporter Cary Ashby here again with the Norwalk Reflector. Having read your response to my original posting for an interview, I thought I'd go ahead and post them here. Please know I have the right to paraphprase you or quote you directly within the context of the story and the question itself.
First of all, do I have your permission to use your feedback to other fans in my story?

A) How specifically did you become involved in "Iron Man?" You told MTV Ari Arad "approached (you) to work on this." 
AA) Why do you think Arad picked you over other directors?  
B) How much of a fan are you of the Iron Man character? 
BB) How much will that influence/impact your vision for the film? 
C) What can fans expect? a serious, dramatic "Batman Begins" style or a lighter film with dramatic moments such as the "Spider-Man" series? 
D) Do you plan on "pulling a Alfred Hitchcock or Stan Lee" and make a cameo in "Iron Man?" Why or why not? Back to your experience in "Daredevil." 
D) Many critics have gone out of their way to dump on the film, calling it a dud. What was your honest opinion about it once you saw it? 
DD) Did you prefer the theatrical version or the director's cut? Why? 
E) How much research did you do for Franklin "Foggy" Nelson? 
EE) What approach did you take to the character? 
F) What chemistry did you see between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner while filming? 
G) Any plans to work with Affleck again? 
Producer Avi Arad with Spider-Man

Thanks for being so open and (hopefully) willing to be interviewed.

Jon Favreau: You have my permission.

A) Avi and I have discussed collaborating since I met him on "Daredevil." I had always asked him about the progress of the Captain America franchise, which had been tied up in rights issues. When all of the rights for the Marvel characters reverted back to the new Marvel Studios, he brought me in for a meeting to discuss "Iron Man".

AA) I think my body of work probably reflects a sensibilty which was in line with the direction he'd like to see Marvel films go now that they have complete autonomy.

B) I was familiar with him, though not a "fan" until recently.

BB) I believe in staying true to source material whenever possible.

C) The scope is geopolitical as opposed to Spidey/Batman/Daredevil crimefighter/vigilante. The tone will land somewhere between Nolan's Batman and Raimi's Spider-Man. The world will be less comic book and more real than either of those two. Somewhere between Tom Clancey and James Bond, if that makes any sense.

D) Don't know yet.

DD) I liked the director's cut better.

E) I read the first issue featuring "Fun loving Foggy Nelson." I had Stan sign it, even though it dropped in value as a result. I have it framed despite the fact that he spelled my name wrong.

EE) For Foggy? I tried to mess with Ben and lighten up the movie. Isn't that what "fun loving" guys do?

F) She had a crush on him. Look at the Dinner For Five episode we shot while filming. It's on the DVD. Look at how she looks at him.

G) He would have to beat me at poker first, which he has yet to do. Watch the WPT Hollywood Home Game that we shot a few years back. All kidding aside, I really like the guy and would work with him again, though we have no plans to do so at this time.

Posted: May 30, 2006 4:19 PM CaryWrote:

Jon, Cary here again with some follow-up questions to our interview. You answered "I don't know yet" to two questions that I labeled as question D. And I really wanted to get your feedback on your thoughts on "Daredevil." Let's try this again!

1) Do you plan on "pulling a Alfred Hitchcock or Stan Lee" and make a cameo in "Iron Man?" Why or why not? 
Back to your experience in "Daredevil." 
2) Many critics have gone out of their way to dump on the film, calling it a dud. What was your honest opinion about it once you saw it? 
3) A clarification: You mentioned wanting to make "Iron Man" a "geopolitical" film. Please give me concise working definition (that most newspaper readers would understand easily) for that term. 

Many thanks!

Jon Favreau (middle) played "Happy" Hogan in all three "Iron Man" films; he directed the first two.
Terrance Howard (left) portrayed Lt. Col. Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes in the first movie, but was replaced
by Don Cheadle. Robert Downey Jr., of course, has played Tony Stark/Iron Man since the first installment.
Jon Favreau:

1) Don't know yet. Probably not. I don't want to take people out of the movie. This one has got to play a bit more real than most comic ficks.

2) I like the Director's cut better, because my stuff is in it. It is really tough to be objective about a movie you worked on. I will say that my tastes lie in effects that play a bit more real and less awesome. MSJ likes a bigger "wow factor" than I do when I make movies. Neither way is right, it's more a matter of taste.

3) I want the film to play on a global level dealing with governments and politics. This is in contrast to Spider-Man or Daredevil which deals with vigilantes fighting violent crime on a local level. James Bond, MI-3 and Bourne Identity would be the scope I am talking about. Does that help? Posted: May 30, 2006 4:22 PM

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