Then you did a number of television projects that went to pilot but nowhere beyond. ^ My real agenda on those pilots was to learn how to be a director. The first time I stepped behind the camera on a feature, I wanted to have enough experience that I wasn’t worried about doing it for the first time. I wanted to have a voice as a filmmaker already. So I was really grateful for (the TV work). I sort of learned that from Mimi Leder. “The Peacemaker” and Deep Impact were her first movies, and she was being touted as this “first-time” filmmaker who had a great voice, but she had been directing “ER” and (other) television for years. It’s a great way to fly under the radar in this day and age when your first feature is being so heavily scrutinized, and decisions about your career are made based on that feature. I knew that I needed to really prepare myself, and so it was a great experience.
Was there any disappointment when the various pilots did not get picked up? ^ I at least went into them saying, “I don’t give a s**t,” and then I always ended up kind of hoping they would go. Then afterwards when they didn’t go, I was always very happy when I saw where my career took me.
And you were just grateful for the experience. ^ Yeah. Compared to a movie, they’ll give you a million or two million dollars to shoot a half an hour or an hour of film. You shoot it in a week. You shoot it with a union crew. You go through the casting and editing process, and they don’t look over your shoulder. It was a great experience to work with different producers and different actors, and some of the actors that I met on the TV shows, I ended up using. The flight attendant in Made, Jennifer Bransford, was somebody whom I cast as a lead in a pilot called “Smog.”
That then brings us to Made, or am I missing something else? ^ The one that you’re missing that matters is (the Silicon Valley story) “The First $20 Million.” They just shot it. I was actually writing that when I was working on one of my pilots a few years ago. I had adapted a book, and (the script) has been rewritten since then. Mick Jackson was attached (as director). The project ended up getting made at Fox, and they shot it what they thought was pre-strike, and it’s being edited now. It’s very strange; it’s the first time I’ve been involved in writing a movie that I haven’t been involved with producing. I stopped by the set one day; it was a little surreal. Hopefully that will be pretty good. It’s actually very cool because (the job) got me online for the first time. I said, “I have to research this; I better learn what the Internet is.” And the Internet has really been such an important part of my career.
Especially with Made. ^ With Made, now it’s me being a little more proactive, running my own site, but even before then–the Shag-O-Rama site, the other Jon Favreau (fan) websites. There are a lot of “Swingers” sites. And you don’t have any idea–the Internet, when you first get on it, especially when you’re a celebrity and so much attention is focused on you, you don’t understand the scope of it; you think it’s huge. But really it’s just individuals; it’s not that big a thing. It’s not that out of control. You get to know the personalities on it, and it’s almost like a fan club, not these faceless masses. There are really probably a few dozen people that are active and probably a few hundred people that are inactively, passively watching and doing. It’s a great way to communicate especially when you have sort of a niche audience like I do, a very strong but small following. It’s a great way to communicate directly with them, and we knew that dealing with the press in a traditional way on Made was a real waste of time; you have all these people chasing the (co-star Sean) “Puffy” (Combs) rumors about gun charges, and all these pop culture-y people who don’t really understand what we’re doing. But you have this incredibly rich and educated Internet audience that was very keyed into what we’re doing, and so we put up that Getting it ‘Made’ site to put up some photos, answer questions in case they heard any rumors, and give the real deal of what was going on so that crazy rumors didn’t start spinning out of control.
Get the whole story in part four of MONEY MAN: JON FAVREAU GETS “MADE”>>>