Hello Reddit! Jon Favreau here. You know me as Eric the Clown from “Seinfeld," the director of “Elf" and "Iron Man,” Mike from “Swingers” (I wrote that one too), and I’ve never written a speech for a US President.

I’m here because my new film “Chef" is out in theaters now and I’d love for you to see it!

proof: https://twitter.com/Jon_Favreau/status/466613529525501953

Follow me on social media: Twitter: @Jon_Favreau Facebook: JonFavreau Instagram: JonFavreau

I’m supporting a charity called Share Our Strength: SOS’s No Kid Hungry campaign wants to end childhood hunger in the U.S. It’s doing so by educating families about nutrition and healthy cooking. https://www.nokidhungry.org/give/overview

Victoria from reddit will be helping, so AMA.


Thank you everybody, these were great questions and I really enjoyed having a conversation with the reddit community. Now that I've dipped my toe in the water, I look forward to continuing my presence on reddit, this was extremely fun. Thank you for making my first time so smooth. - Jon

Comments: 1889 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

TallRedditor928 karma

Hey Mr. Favreau!

Love all of your work - from guest starring on Friends to producing/directing Iron Man.

One movie in particular that you were involved in was especially awesome for me. That movie is Elf. A few years ago I was doing some Cyber Monday shopping and came across an Elf outfit and it was about $20...so I figured...might as well. So I got it, and went to NYC around Christmas where my sister lives and recreated some scenes from Elf. Also I'm 6'9" so that helped the hilarious.

here is the video - not sure why it isn't available on mobile - oh well.

Whenever someone involved in Elf does an AMA I try and post this HOPING that they wold see it - no luck spfar. It was such a great time and I took so many pictures with people and it all began with a movie that you directed. So thanks - keep being awesome.

MrFavs1927 karma

At the risk of having you soil your tights...I am pleased to inform you that I had already seen this video, and was a fan.

I was asked earlier in this AMA what special moments from fans have affected me. This is one of those moments when you realize that your work has made such an impression on somebody that they've gone out of their way to be creative and be inspired by you. And a word of advice, if I may be so bold: holding your camera in landscape mode would be much more cinematic and allow for it to be viewed on both television and computer screens in a more flattering aspect ratio.

TallRedditor387 karma

Consider the tights sufficiently soiled. That's awesome!

And ah yes, the person who filmed me doing these things apparently was holding her phone vertical the entire time which I didn't know of until she sent me all of the files after our day of going around filming. It was a disappointing realization opening all of the files and seeing that they were all vertical.

MrFavs702 karma

Looks like you need a Kickstarter for a reshoot.

She probably chose vertical because she ran into the same problem we did on the set; how do you keep a 6 foot tall Elf's pointy hat in the frame? We constantly ran into that problem while we were filming, and I had constant conversations with my cinematographer Greg Gardiner about this very issue.

kerryb1989646 karma

Hey Jon!

Were you involved at all in the casting of Robert Downey Jr. in Iron man?

Big fan!!

MrFavs1343 karma

Yeah. Casting Robert Downey Jr. was a pretty big fight at the time. He was not the obvious choice. And although everybody acknowledged that he was a man of tremendous talent, there was a lot of discussion behind the scenes as to whether or not he had the potential to be a movie star that could carry a Marvel franchise. I was pushing very hard for him, and he fought very hard to get the role. The final factor in him getting cast was a screen test that he did where he blew everybody away, and everyone was in agreement that he was indeed, Tony Stark.

Muzongo608 karma

Do you even realize how money you are?

MrFavs594 karma

I've been told, thank you.

Carninator361 karma

How's 'The Jungle Book' coming along? Has Mowgli and Baloo been cast?

MrFavs551 karma

We're currently in the middle of a worldwide search for a Mowgli. We are in conversation with somebody extremely cool for Baloo, but I can't mention who it is until it's final.

Scottyflamingo91283 karma


I think you are one of the most underrated directors out there. You've done indie comedy, big superhero blockbusters, and kids movies.

Have you ever considered giving horror a try?

MrFavs547 karma

Thank you for your compliments. When you direct a movie, you really have to immerse yourself in that world for a year or two. I suspect that if I worked on a horror movie, it would affect the energy of my day to day life in a way that I wouldn't be comfortable with. I love watching a good zombie movie, and I enjoy clever horror, but I don't think I'm the right guy to explore that genre because I don't know if I have the stomach for it.

dayofthedead204271 karma

Hi Jon,

Thanks for doing this AMA! I’m a really big fan – you’re great in just about every role I’ve seen you perform. I have a few questions:

Vince Vaughn did an AMA few months ago and I asked him if he ever played Dungeons and Dragons with you. He said that he never did but he knows you have a great imagination. Have you ever offered to play D&D with him? Maybe he’s just not into it? And next what kind of campaigns or gameplay do you do with D&D?

One of my favorite scenes with you was in “The Replacements” where you were told to get Gene Hackman the ball. Did you and Gene ever crackup while filming this? It was hilarious and what was it like working with Gene?

Lastly if Ricky and Bobby from “Made” met Mike and Trent from “Swingers” do you think they’d become friends? Thanks again Jon!

MrFavs402 karma

Okay, there's a lot of parts to this question, I'll take 'em one at a time.

First of all, I haven't played D&D since high school. I was really into role-playing games at that time in my life. I lived in NY, and there was a great store called The Compleat Strategist, near the Empire State Building. I would also go to a store called Forbidden Planet. As a matter of fact, I just stopped by the last time I was in town for the Tribeca Film Festival's premiere of Chef. It was really cool to see collectibles in the showcases from movies I had worked on, from being there as a fanboy when I'd cut class in high school.

Gene Hackman in Replacements was one of those moments when I was pretty starstruck. He would come in and out of town to shoot his scenes, and he had his yacht piloted to a harbor in Baltimore, so it could be close by for him. It was pretty surreal to have such a legend on our set. The scene you're referring to was not scripted as it appeared, and we improv'd back and forth: improvising with a great actor is like playing jazz with a great musician. It's one of those moments I'll never forget. Gene Hackman never cracked while filming, and wasn't a guy who laughed much. But he took his work very seriously, and it was an honor to have met him.

Ricky and Bobby might get along with Mike and Trent, but if they didn't, Ricky and Bobby would have no problem kicking Mike and Trent's asses.

Ratava265 karma

Hello! I'm very excited about Chef! My biggest question is, what do you find is the biggest difference between a studio picture and an indie, that most people would never consider? Something besides the obvious (less money, more freedom, etc).

Thanks so much!

MrFavs446 karma

The biggest difference is the budget. The lower the budget, the greater the freedom. I enjoy working on the big budget movies, but the appeal has to be more global. For a film like Chef, the smaller budget allowed me to have complete freedom when it came to the script, where I filmed it, who I cast, and the final cut of the film. I really wanted to depict the culinary world in an accurate way, which required dicey language at times. And I wanted to make sure that the casting reflected what a real kitchen was like. It was really fun to return to the scale of an independent film after starting out in that world at the beginning of my career.

Gimmie_dat_cookie265 karma

If asked, would you direct one of the new Star Wars movies?

MrFavs597 karma

Star Wars? I love Star Wars! Who wouldn't want to direct a Star Wars movie? What, are you kidding me!?

For right now, I'm excited to see what JJ's come up with, I think he's the perfect choice and he seems to be making all the right decisions. I will be first in line to see Episode 7.

surprisepuppyart235 karma

Why do you hate Paul Rudd so much?

MrFavs580 karma

I love Paul Rudd. I can't get enough Paul Rudd. I ate soup out of Paul Rudd's mouth, I love him so much. I can't wait to see Ant Man.

kevtron3k232 karma

Thanks for doing this, Jon!

What was it like playing yourself on The Sopranos? One of my favorite episodes. I was tense the whole way through.

MrFavs413 karma

I was really honored to be invited by David Chase to play myself on the Sopranos. I wanted to make sure that when I depicted myself that I wasn't playing it "too cool: because if the real Jon Favreau met the real Sopranos, he would not be very comfortable at all. The original script that I received had me playing it off as if I was one of the guys. I had given David the note that i wanted to be really uncomfortable and scared, because although everybody likes the romantic idea of gangsters, if you ever meet them in real life, it could be extremely off-putting.

FireHornet190 karma

Congratulations on being on the longest Nerdist podcast! That was such a great episode. Anyway, I wanted to say thank you for being such a cool role model for people, including myself. I also wanted to thank you for all of cool stuff you make. I remember you saying on the podcast that you really liked when something you made affected somebody in a positive way. So I was wondering what fan interaction has meant the most to you?

MrFavs268 karma

That's great to hear. I was really concerned that we went on too long when we actually taped that interview. I had a great time talking to Chris & the gang, there were so many topics that we shared a common interest in. We could talk geek culture, we could talk comedy, we could talk movies, it was easy to lose track of the fact that you were being recorded because it just felt like a conversation. On the drive home, I was worried that we went on too long, but I've been getting really good feedback via Twitter. And I'm happy that I was able to have such an in-depth conversation about subjects that were so important to me.

It's interesting how the various platforms of social media inspire different types of feedback from the people who are reacting to my work and my press. I've been at Twitter for about 5 years, starting on the set of Iron Man 2, but this is my first time on reddit. My son, who's 12, is an avid fan and reader of reddit, and is constantly laughing to himself as he's reading off of his computer screen. Every once in a while, he even includes me in one of his discoveries that he finds on reddit. It's tough to seem cool to your kid no matter what you do for a living, but being on reddit is definitely a step in the right direction. I promise next time I do something like this that I'm going to let him type for me. A whole different generation.

As far as fan interaction goes, I get just yesterday, somebody told me that when he was getting over a bad breakup, his friends drove him to see SWINGERS in the theater. This is close to 20 years ago, so the fact that he remembers it so vividly and went out of his way to tell me that says it really made an impression on him, and that makes me feel really good.

I also love how many tweets I get at Christmastime quoting ELF.

man_mayo140 karma

What was it like on the set of "PCU?" Any fun behind-the-scenes stories?

MrFavs205 karma

PCU was an amazing experience. It was one of my first films as an actor, and I stayed at the Four Seasons in Toronto, which seemed like the Taj Mahal to me at the time. We filmed at the University of Toronto Campus and we had almost as much fun on our days off as we did during filming. My most vivid memory was spending 9 hours in a chair getting the dreadlocks woven into my hair. My happiest moment is when we finished filming, and they pulled all the dreadlocks out, and I got to wash my hair and run a comb through it. It was like being reborn.

OneNamedLucas138 karma

You were in Daredevil with Ben Affleck, how do you think he's going to do in the new Superman/Batman movie? since everyone seems upset about this choice

MrFavs308 karma

Ben is a very smart guy, and a great director. He's in a position in Hollywood where he has a tremendous amount of freedom when it comes to what projects he wants to pursue. If he has chosen to take on this role, I'm sure he has something really interesting in mind for how he's going to depict the Caped Crusader. He impresses me more and more each year with how he's grown creatively, and I am extremely curious to see how that will affect the way that he inhabits the role of an iconic superhero.

Stryker412134 karma

2016 is the 20th Anniversary of 'Swingers.' Will we get a special edition BD with a reunion of the cast to talk about filming as a special feature/commentary?

MrFavs148 karma

There's no plans that I know of to do any kind of special release for the anniversary. I'm often surprised however, when things like that come out that I'm not aware of. They don't always include us in their plans when a distributor reissues something or puts out a special edition.

slai90126 karma

Who else could you have cast as Buddy in Elf? It's one of my favourite Christmas movies by the way. Instant classic!

MrFavs253 karma

Will Ferrell was attached to the project when I was hired. So I wasn't involved in casting him. I can't imagine anybody else playing that role.

do_it_like_this124 karma

I just want to say that I God damned loved you in Rudy.

MrFavs203 karma

He's so little!

crapusername47113 karma

Serious question - you had a producer's credit on The Avengers. How much actual work did that involve?

MrFavs193 karma

The credit of executive producer can mean a lot of different things. In my particular case on the Avengers, it was a result of my work on the Iron Man films in establishing the characters and the world, as well as being involved and available to Joss & the cast as they were making the movie. Joss and Marvel were definitely steering the ship on that one, and I was just happy to be a part of it and offer whatever advice I could based on my experiences on the previous films.

fleabass108 karma

Big fan of your work, especially dinner for five which is like a predecessor of podcasting. Any chance of bringing it back?

MrFavs99 karma

I talk about it from time to time. I feel the same way you do about Dinner for Five's relationship with podcasting, and I feel that there are a lot of outlets that now give you that same access or in-depth conversations about the business. I've listened to podcasts every day, and there's nothing like the long relaxed conversation with somebody that I'm curious about.

themopass98 karma

After helping Kickstart the Marvel Cinematic Universe - How do you feel as to where it is right now? Do you wish to direct again for Marvel and possibly revisit Iron Man? Thank You!

MrFavs142 karma

I've been very impressed by the variety of directors they've chosen for their various franchises. I like the fact that they've maintained the tone of Iron Man, while allowing each individual director to express their own personal tastes and styles. I never could have imagined that this collection of films would result from a movie that was essentially made as an independently financed negative pickup and was the first film of a newborn studio. I congratulate the team at Marvel for being so successful and keeping the ball rolling. I also admire the emphasis placed on casting. I think it's the great actors that have served to elevate the genre. And as far as directing again? I have no plans as of now, but I enjoy working with the Marvel family a great deal.

MsJessD496 karma

Hi Jon, what's the best advice you've ever received ?

MrFavs244 karma

I was riding on a shuttle bus at the Sundance Film Festival the year I was trying to get Swingers made. I just so happened to see next to Peter Riegert who I was a fan of since Animal House. He asked me what I was doing in Park City, and I said I was trying to get a movie I had written made. He told me that he thought it was a good idea. His perspective that he shared was that from age 28 to 35 was the perfect opportunity to make a big move creatively because you're old enough to have experience, but still young enough to have the energy to get something done. It seemed like an arbitrary age range at the time, but he was very specific about it. Looking back, I'm really glad I took that opportunity to really extend myself and change the nature of my career. I've never had the opportunity to talk to him again or thank him for that advice, but I still think of it from time to time.

Izzyfr88 karma

How was your time working on the show FRIENDS?

MrFavs189 karma

I started off as a guest star, and ended up doing six episodes. I think it's kind of funny that Monica was a chef, and one of my episodes was about me installing a killer kitchen for her. Everything seems to have come full circle with me playing a chef now. The cast was great, I remember playing Super Mario Kart with David Schwimmer in his dressing room during our downtime. It had a real family feel and I'm still amazed at how many people recognize me from that show, even kids who weren't even born or old enough to see it at the time who are only aware of it through syndication.

seismicor87 karma

Hello Jon, thank you for the awesome Iron Man series! I know you were the producer of the third movie but do you know how many takes it took to shoot the awesome plane scene in Iron Man 3? How difficult was it?

MrFavs162 karma

I wasn't around for that sequence, all of my work was on the stage with Robert Downey Jr, and at Stark Industries with Gwyneth. My role was much different on the third film, as I was only an actor and an executive producer. It was really interesting being on a set of an Iron Man film that I wasn't directing. I was really able to concentrate on having fun as a performer, and trying to be as supportive as I could be to Shane Black, who was the director of the third installment. I got to spend a lot of time in Miami, and I got to see cuban music performed in little Havana on my days off. That was (in part) what inspired the Miami sequences in Chef.

kickme44478 karma

Jon, As a reddit employee who runs a division largely focused around Christmas, I just want to thank you for Elf. It helps us through late nights around the holidays. I especially think you nailed the soundtrack on that movie!

You may have even inspired our elf plush!

MrFavs98 karma

Thank you for your kind words. It was always our goal when we were making Elf to have it appear in the Christmas rotation on television every year. And I'm grateful that that goal has been accomplished. Elf seems to occupy a special place in many people's holiday traditions, and I'm so flattered to be a part of it. I'm particularly fond of the soundtrack of Elf, and I have a gold record hanging on my wall in my office.

darkonex73 karma

The puke scene in "I Love You Man" is hilarious! How many takes did you do for that scene and how could you guys not crack up laughing during it?


MrFavs140 karma

I got puked on twice, and I wasn't laughing I was crying.

logicatch66 karma

Hi Jon, huge fan of your work and looking forward to seeing Chef when it expands.

How did you come up with that incredibly awkward answering machine scene in Swingers? Did that come from a similar experience you had in real life?

MrFavs116 karma

I never had that kind of an experience with an answering machine. I just thought it was a really funny, awful thing that could happen when leaving a message for a girl you just got the number from. I have to admit, though, that after that movie came out I got much more nervous leaving messages on people's phones, knowing they would play it to everybody before I screwedup.

In my new movie Chef, I try to use Twitter & social media in the same way I used the answering machine in Swingers. It seems that technology, whether it's an answering machine or YouTube or Twitter, has the potential to make embarrassing moments exponentially worse. It's a great dramatic tool and could lead to some really fun comedy.

charmuse63 karma

Hey Jon, long time fan! Why can't I find the complete Diner for Five series anywhere like DVD? (Like beyond secondary market) It's a fascinating show!

MrFavs273 karma

I've been trying to find a home for it, but unfortunately the deal has never come together. If you look around for it, there are unauthorized copies available online that I am reticent to pull down until there's another way for people to access the show.

shivan2155 karma

Hi Jon, big fan of the amazing Revolution series here! What do you say about cancelling the third season? What were the reasons? And how big is the chance that another channel will take over?

MrFavs93 karma

Let me start by saying that I've been in contact with Eric Kripke who is the executive producer and show runner of Revolution. He was extremely disappointed when he got the news that the show was being canceled, but wanted me to communicate to the fans through my social media presence that he was tremendously grateful for all of the fan support. I think the cancellation (and I'm just speculating) probably had to do with the ratings being borderline. Network television in general has been struggling over the last few years, because of all of the competition from different platforms and cable channels. It's challenging to navigate all of these changes, and find a way to keep relevant content available, and to have it make sense for the people who are financing it. I've expressed to Eric how much enthusiasm there is for the idea of keeping the show going in another venue. These things are very complicated, because there are a lot of people who are involved, and any one of them can veto that kind of a move. That being said, it is not unheard of in this day & age for a show to pop up at a different network or online or in the movie theaters. Think about Arrested Development or Veronica Mars. I'm keeping an open mind, and I will be supportive in any way that I can. These are tricky waters to navigate, but I will express to Eric how much enthusiasm there is out there for his show to continue.

mrniphty42 karma

Man, I can't tell you how many times I've seen Rudy.

Any good stories from making it?

MrFavs103 karma

I remember we were filming on the campus on the second floor of the library, I was doing a scene with Sean Astin where we were studying together, and David Anspaugh was directing us. In the middle of rehearsal, we heard a loud noise from outside, and we all rushed to the window. One of the condors that was holding a light had toppled over. Everybody was buzzing around and everything had stopped. David asked if everybody was okay, and after he was assured that nobody had been hurt, he pulled the 2 of us back into the scene, and calmly continued directing us. It was a real lesson in directing for me. I realized that he was concerned about this crew, and wants to make sure everybody was okay first and foremost, but he realized that everything was okay, he created a calmness and a focus so we could get back to work. And he was unfazed by the chaos that was swirling around him.

I realized it was a director's job to create a mood and to reassure the people around him. It was a real lesson in leadership as well, and it made me feel very lucky to be working with a guy like him.

manyfandoms41 karma

Hi Jon,

what was your favorite part of making Chef?

MrFavs50 karma

I loved so many aspects of this project. It's the first time I've written a script in a matter of weeks since Swingers, so that was exciting. I really loved working with Roy Choi and training to play the chef. It's a set of skills I'm going to continue to refine, even after the film is done. I loved filming it, I haven't shot a film in a month since my independent days, so it was nice to see i still had the chops to get it done. And I've really enjoyed putting the soundtrack together, it's fantastic, you should give it a listen: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chef-original-soundtrack-album/id865953713

I also loved taking the film on the festival circuit, including SXSW and Tribeca, where we won the audience award. And finally, it's been great to promote this film because I believe in it so fully and am so excited for people to see it.

seismicor39 karma

If you could do any game to movie adaptation which one would it be?

MrFavs73 karma

Oooh. Video game adaptations are very tricky, because the basic experience of a video game is much different than a linear film. Clearly there's wonderful storytelling in video games, and now you can portray video game imagery in a movie very effectively. When you really roll up your sleeves and try to figure out a way to develop a good video game into a movie, it's surprisingly challenging to transfer the storytelling. There are a lot of films coming out in the upcoming years and I'm looking forward to seeing how other directors have found a way to crack that nut.

Spudly231930 karma

Hey Jon! Huge fan of your movies- I just heard your interview on The Nerdist and it was very insightful. I only have one question, what movies do you like to rewatch/come back to? Thanks!

MrFavs59 karma

You can never go wrong with the Godfather. Seven Samurai is like a 3 hour film school. Visions of Light is a really good doc that I check out from time to time, as it offers insight into cinematography.

Aloumun30 karma

Hi Mr. Favreau, I had the pleasure of meeting you on Saturday at the Q&A in Century City. I know you had a connection with Paul Qui during SXSW. My question is: was the meal that Carl cooked in his apartment after quitting his job inspired by dishes served at Qui? I ask because the meat Carl cooked looked very similar to Paul's Cote de Boeuf.

Also hope to see you at POT Thursday!

MrFavs53 karma

Unfortunately I didn't meet Chef Qui until SXSW. He had been friends with Roy Choi who was my mentor, and they draw inspiration from the same culinary traditions. Those 2 chefs have a tremendous amount of mutual respect and I wouldn't be surprised if they were both influenced by each other. All of the food that appears in Chef was created by Chef Roy Choi. He also oversaw my training, and I worked on the hot line in his kitchens.

MrFavs54 karma

Just saw the end of the question - YES, I will see you at the El Jefe pop up at Roy Choi's POT restaurant on Thursday! If you're in the LA area, and you want to taste the Cubano sandwich from the movie, Roy Choi is going to be doing a pop up at the Line hotel from 8-11 PM on Thursday. http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-jon-favreau-roy-choi-chef-pot-el-jefe-pop-up-20140512-story.html

FoulToGive28 karma


Whats your favorite comic book story arc?

P.S. You were a great Foggy

MrFavs98 karma

I know this isn't a popular one, but the first run of Sergio Aragonés Groo the Wanderer, published by Pacific Comics, was one of my favorite comic book runs.

BooG69019 karma

You're the pride of Queens, Jon! Thanks for being so awesome!

MrFavs42 karma

Kings from Queens, from Queens come Kings.

waswo18 karma

Would you rather fight a 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?

MrFavs41 karma

I've given this a lot of thought. And I don't take this question lightly. I'd have to go with the little horses. It would be sad at first to stomp on those little critters, but at least I know I would survive, and live to tell the tale.

jonemillard17 karma

How were you able to convince this amazing cast to join Chef?

MrFavs31 karma

When you do an independent film, you have to rely on the generosity of others. Both in front of and behind the camera, extremely talented people worked for a fraction of what they would get on a bigger movie. Robert Downey and Scarlett I knew from the Iron Man films, and they agreed to do the project after reading the script. I have known John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale for quite some time and they agreed to be int he film as well. Dustin Hoffman and Sofia Vergara were two people I was a fan of but I didn't know them personally. I sent them scripts with an offer and after meeting with me they agreed to do the film.

Defenstrate42012 karma

What was used for the copious amount of puke Paul Rudd threw up on you?

MrFavs18 karma

Italian Wedding Soup.

McCheesy12310 karma

What was it like to work on the set of Seinfeld? Also huge fan of everything you've done.

MrFavs13 karma

Seinfeld was a dream come true. I was a fan of the show, and I was starstruck just sitting on the couch of the set. The series was already very successful, and everybody enjoyed the creative freedom that that offered. I was so happy and inspired to be on that set and watch the ideas flying around. I'm only sorry that I was only in one episode. It was only a week, but it seemed like I was there for months.

notsincetheinjury8 karma

What's your favorite meal to cook?

MrFavs17 karma

I'm trying very hard to master smoking brisket in the Texas style that Erik Franklin is so good at. It requires a lot of patience, and an understanding of all the subtleties that go into the alchemy of cooking. I'm amazed by all the flavors that a pit master, like Franklin, can get out of only 3 ingredients: salt, pepper and brisket.