Favreau's Made It!
emily blunt interview
Favreau has an interesting life so far... He's been a career
shifter, cartoonist, actor, writer, and now, producer, director
and new dad.
I respect him and I'm impressed by him, 'cause he seems to have
an honesty and an unswerving determination to him. He's leading
his life, his way. He's blunt.
He got his big break in a movie called Rudy
while- get this- washing dishes at the Second City Comedy venue.
Jon met a future close friend and colleague, über cutey
Vince Vaughn, on Rudy as well.
wrote and starred in a "little" movie you may remember
called Swingers a couple years back... Yepp-o-daddy-o, Swingers
was so money (<- I had to- just once). Those in the
know, have waited -patiently- for his next scripted visceral
look at the human psyche. Well, he's back with Made.
Another unique, superbly written character study with himself
cast as the moral guy heading to the dogs, and his bud, Vinnie
as the fast talking short-cut kinda- guy best friend. The banter
between the two is just as mesmerizing as in Swingersand
Vaughn's aging like a fine wine girls.
Getting impressed yet? Favreau's a super sweet guy, and not
so bad on the retina in a tough guy with a beefy boxer's physique-way.
But, alas, he's married and breeding. So, hands off fellow chickbabes
and on to the next smit.
a read. He's an inspiring, talented beau with another hit movie
on his hands. And, as of yet, still a Hollywood anti-villian.
A person I truly admire <- and I don't throw that jargon
Well, how are you?
FAVREAU: Very good.
EMILY: First I'd like to say thanks! The recording contraption's
go ahead. Continue with what you were saying. [ without
skipping a beat Jon continues in a warm story about his goals
of keeping to his values in Hollywood aka not selling out]
FAVREAU: ...That was always sort of a goal of mine. It's worked
against me more than it's worked for me, but now that everything's
sort of...all the success is sort of coming, it gives me a
feel very secure in my position in Hollywood, and I'm thought
very well of by my peers, and people want to work with me and
I have a reputation as a pro. At first you want to have a reputation
as being talented or funny or...you know...special. As
you go through it you just the biggest compliment you can get
is to be...to get recognized that you're a real pro and consummate
EMILY: That's true, and you know now's the time, because a few
years ago people
and their integrity didn't matter. Now you're right where you
should be because you stuck to your guns. You did what you believed
in, and it's starting to pay off for a lot of these people,
and you mentioned Jennifer Jason Lee. Her, too I mean, it's
starting to really pay off.
FAVREAU: ... She went through the lean years, too. She had a
really tough time. And she did some Broadway
and now she's directing, and she is...I mean...I got a chance
to work with her, even though I was cut out of the movie, I
got to experience what it was like to work with her, and she's
just a fantastic, fantastic actor and person and that whole
group that is involved with Anniversary Party, I've...you know...I
worked with a lot of them on Mrs.
Parker.[Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle ]
EMILY: Oh! That's one of my favorite movies ever...honestly.
I love that! I'm a big Dorothy Parker fan. I was born in the
wrong era. I'm walking around in the 40's...I saw that and I
was just...I almost had tears in my eyes. I was like - "this
is brilliant!" And no one saw it.
FAVREAU: Nobody saw it and it was brilliant...you know
what I mean...it was Alan
Rudolph 's movie, so it was sort of...he's sort of not everybody's
taste every time out. And I think with that cast and everything
and that subject matter is cool.
FAVREAU: I really liked it too. It sort of inspired me to...have
you seen online or read about the Dinner
for Five thing? [a show Jon's hosting through-out the year
FAVREAU: I'm gonna do more of those, but that sort of inspired
that - like the whole Algonquin
round table type feel and to have just people who are contemporaries
that you would
never link with each other.
EMILY: Do you know that it's always been a dream of mine to
go to the Algonquin.
So we went over to the Royalton,
unfortunately, got all liquored up on martinis, and then
strolled in there, four girlfriends and myself...
FAVREAU: Uh huh.
EMILY: And we...they tactfully asked us to leave. They thought
we were prostitutes. I was like,
"Oh, dude." I couldn't believe it. I was so taken
aback. I'm told them, "You're crushing me."
FAVREAU: Well, what were you wearing?
EMILY: I was dressed nice, but you know...I mean...you think
you're clever and charming
after a few drinks, and we were probably a bit...OB-noxious.
But, normally I'm kind of a verbal, classy chick, but not at
that evening, I guess.
EMILY: It wasn't what I expected. Tell me a little bit about
you. You were born and raised in
FAVREAU: Yeah. My family's from the Bronx. I'm from Queens,
EMILY: Did you go to that science school that Bobby
FAVREAU: The Bronx High School of Science.
FAVREAU: But that's a school that you can go to from anywhere
in the City, so I used to commute.
EMILY: You have to be kind of intelligent to get in there, don't
FAVREAU: Yeah, you have to take a test. There's like that school
and Stylus (?). They're like the two big schools that you have
to take tests for to get in. And I got in and it was just a
really, really great experience, but it was a crossroads in
my life because I...you know...I really wanted to go to like
into either Art & Design, which is for artists, or Performing
Arts, where "Fame" was set. I had friends who went
there. Cause I was always like one of those in the
school plays or something like that.
EMILY: And I understand that you do cartooning?
FAVREAU: Yeah. .I used to be in arts and stuff. But I never
was encouraged to...I was...aimed
toward the sciences, then when I moved to Chicago after working
on Wall Street and going to college and all this stuff, I decided
to give a shot to acting and drawing, So I started my own business
doing like freelance cartoon work while I was auditioning and
washing dishes at Second City.
EMILY: Did you do actual stand-up comedy at Second City?
FAVREAU: No, Second City is an improv place, so you would see
sketches in a very similar format to like Saturday Night Live.
And then we'd write a new show every few months and they would
improvise, based on suggestions, after the show, and then I
was involved with groups that...you know...I was never on stage
there. I was always sort of taking classes and washing dishes,
and I would be due to improv with different groups. There's
a lot of groups that would have like gigs at bars where people
would come in, grab a few drinks, and they'd shout out suggestions
and you would improvise.
EMILY: Well, I'm in a group like that. We do we do comedy sketches,
and when you get
the drunks in, I hate that...the 12:30 show, it's like. AHHH.
I go out there and look around-- who's gonna beat me up emotionally
today? Let's see...that guy right there, I'm sure.
FAVREAU: [laughter] You know there's no fuckin' around. I mean,
when you're in the theater,or drama
club at school, or when you're putting up a show within the
drama department, or take classes, and you have an audience,
that is either too polite or is either ...there's a whole emperor's
new clothes for that, when the audience doesn't know what their...it's
pearls before swine.
EMILY: Right. [ though -that expression I have never heard and
shall be parlaying it in my everyday speak as of now. PBS-love
FAVREAU: Who's gonna do comedy in a fuckin' bar? You learn and
but fast what funny is...
EMILY: That's true.
FAVREAU: And you're learning timing, and the good ones, whether
it's Mike Meyers, or like Chris Farley, or any of the other
people I saw, really knew how to adjust to whatever the crowd
was and the situation.
EMILY: Absolutely. And then you can take anything. I mean, there's
nothing life can't
throw you. You know, it's funny, because the screenwriting that
I've seen, I'm
sure you have more, but what I've actually seen, it's all centered
around Los Angeles.
Are you leaving the Gotham studies to Woody Allen?
FAVREAU: Well, you know...actually like the first film [Swingers]
was about a New Yorker who came here, into LA, and then Made
is about some guys that go to New York, so...
EMILY: That's kinda humorous.
FAVREAU: It's definitely like uh...you know it's flipping it,
but it's...it's still dealing with it,
but I had to deal with the New York that I know. Plus
I wrote something for Ray Romano and Kevin James, called "Bridge
and Tunnel," about some guys from Queens who go into the
City. So that's something I've worked that's not being made
yet 'cause they're all working on their shows, but it's something
that I wrote with them...
EMILY: Wonderful. And comedy is so apparent in both the Swingers
Made script. As a matter of fact, like what Saturday Night Live
does, you're Swingers
introduced a bit of hip slang into the mainstream.
EMILY: How did that feel?
FAVREAU: It was cool. I can see why people gear stuff towards
it, because it...it's very
easy if you get a catch phrase it's like a shorthand. That communicates
that you've seen the movie and that you liked the movie, and
then you watch it get infused into pop culture, which is kinda
strange...Like they pop up on TV, billboards, commercials...
EMILY: Oh yeah, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy...they took off.
FAVREAU: And them! I'm so...you know, when you're part of the
pop culture's Zeitgeist it's
good, but I can't...I'm not like Madonna. I can't predict it
and I'm not about to...like Saturday Night Live where you sort
of hammer it home...
FAVREAU: Like build a whole movie around catch phrases like
Mike Meyers seems to. And be good at it. For me, if I knew I
was...it was time to get as far away from that a s I could,
and so there's no catch phrases and pop world in Made.
EMILY:Again with Made, you've made such a wonderful character-driven
movie. The people, even Ricky (Vaughn's obnoxious character)
just so loveable. I mean...they're quirky, which seems
to be your signature style.
FAVREAU: Yeah. And also I wanted to do things...thank you...and
I wanted to do things that
you couldn't do in a bigger movie, like make a character who
is completely reprehensible
on paper, like, uh, Ricky. [ Vince Vaughn's character in Made]
FAVREAU: Or, you know, make things be a little ambiguous in
certain areas and don't explain to death things that the studios
would make you explain, and just enjoy the...I definitely was
playing, on dealing with the shortcomings of the medium, which
was the budget and how fast we had to shoot, so I wanted to
play into the strengths of my position, too, which was a great
deal of creative freedom.
EMILY: Oh, that must have been a dream.
EMILY: Lucky you!
FAVREAU: You know I'm looking forward to on the next one, having
a different set of challenges. I'm not Mr. Integrity where I
won't...I don't want to hear it from anybody and I have a vision.
EMILY: Well, you're a team player. Obviously you can tell just
by the way you work with
people and what I've seen from all your work, it doesn't seem
like you're a big ego head. Lemme go back for a moment to the
character, Ricky. A lot of that seemed almost like it was improv
itself. I mean, did you give Vince Vaughn reign to do what he
wanted? It was just razor sharp and delivered so quickly.
FAVREAU: It depends what scenes you're talking about. Every
scene was written, and certain scenes were either added or embellished.
Like when he comes in and he's talking to Sam Rockwell about
how much money for each room, and what if I give you twenty
EMILY: Right .
FAVREAU: Yeah, that was scripted. All of that. Uh, but
like when Sam Rockwell comes back into the room and he throws
the drink in his face?
FAVREAU: He did that. He made that one up.
EMILY: And it worked.
FAVREAU: That worked really well.
EMILY: Yeah. Of course you could have always edited it if it
EMILY: The beauty of film.
FAVREAU: We edited the other things that didn't work, but that's
why I like to shoot a lot of film and try to get some moments.
EMILY: Well, the chemistry between the two of you once again
is just explosive. How did
the two of you meet?
FAVREAU: On Rudy. He had a small part and I had a big part and
we were both there and he was from Chicago, but he was living
in LA, and then I moved out to LA and we started hanging out
together and that sort of inspired the Swingers. [=kismet folks]
EMILY: Yeah. But that really seemed like it was super realistic.
It looked like it was kinda your
life there on film. Now you're a man of many talents - acting,
directing and producing. Which hat do you prefer, or do you
have to pick?
FAVREAU: Um...well, directing's the newest, so it's sort of
the most interesting to me. Acting is the most fun. I like to
do it and it's great that I can still do that, but you know,
you don't really have a lot of control over things, so it's
real hit or miss. Um...and then writing is the one where you
really...the real one.
EMILY: Now, as a writer, I've noticed that your characters are
deep, regardless of their facades. Swingers kind of followed
"you" and Made is definitely not "you."
Do you sit somewhere and study people and record them, or how
do you develop your characters? That's what writers are looking
to learn how to do, and you've got it.
FAVREAU: You know...you know...I really don't know how
I do what I do. I know that it's easier when I could picture
real people in those situations, and there's...I see people
that are very vulnerable.
EMILY: That comes through, yeah.
FAVREAU: That's really...I think everybody's got...the key to
writing real characters is not to treat everybody like a real
person and give everybody a good side and a bad
side and just...it's the combination of people that accentuates
whether somebody's a
villain or a hero. I mean, even like Peter Falk's character.
Very dark at his core, and still a very charming, likeable person
who could...if you sat down with him, could probably justify
everything he's done in his life. Like what he does. I mean
I find that people are like that. I find that people...very
few people think that what they're doing is bad, and usually
the people who think what they're doing is bad it has more to
do with guilt. And psychological problems than the actual things
that they are doing. You know what I mean?
EMILY: Yeah, absolutely. It's just that you have captured these
people - almost their souls - and put it down on paper, and
that's what makes Made so incredible, is that you, you really
feel like you are spying on these guys - that this isn't really
a film. That you're just kinda hanging out. Even some of the
camera angles, like when you first enter the apartment, we were
following behind you.
EMILY: That was excellent. It set the whole mood. It just really
kept it personal.
FAVREAU: Yeah, it really had a nice gritty, personal feeling,
and that hand-held camera worked really...contributed to that,
and I wanted to have certain stylistic holdovers from Swingers
because I did want to draw...I did want to connect this to Swingers.
But without doing it so much that it suffered from the comparison.
EMILY: And this must be as close to actually what you envisioned
when you were writing it
because you're on all areas of the production of this movie.
FAVREAU: In a way it is, and in a way it's not. I mean, at a
certain point I have to...I mean if you notice, I didn't take
a "film by" credit on there. I could have...I could
have made myself the fucking Grand Poobah of the movie. I had
a hand in everything, but ultimately when you have such talented
people like your DP, and Vince was such a partner in this process
and the other actors, and it began to feel like I...I was really
encouraging of people to just bring their ideas in, and I would
incorporate as many different people's good ideas as I could.
And what starts
to happen is I don't feel like I have a vision for what everybody's
going to be wearing, I didn't feel like I had a vision for what
the furniture was going to be like. I wrote it and we all were
working from the same Bible, and if somebody had a good idea
-Jesse's [Famke Janssen] apartment was completely different
from what I had envisioned.But it looks better.
It's very different from what I wanted. Um...but the ideas were
good and they made....they made solid arguments and so I allowed
the original bar that's in Redhook now...isolated by the water...that
was originally supposed to be in Hell's Kitchen in the West
EMILY: Right. Like Rudy's. You ever been to Rudy's in Hell's
FAVREAU: Is that like one of the old school bars?
EMILY: Oh, yeah. It's a dive to end all dives, but it's so
bad that it's a fun place to
FAVREAU: But, see, that's what happened to that part of the
city and as the people from Manhattan were saying, what - "this
is no Hell's Kitchen any more" the way it was. You know,
why don't...really here's a really cool bar here that we can
fake. Or maybe we can use the outside, and then I saw a lot
of opportunities to create like this whole western walkup and
the water and the...the chiming of the buoy and the in the background...
FAVREAU: Isolations that really gave it a very different feel
where you felt like you were even further down...you know...further
deeper in the mouth of the...you know of the devil.
EMILY: It was very ominous.
FAVREAU: So that wasn't my idea. I never had that in mind ...so
everybody sort of contributed
to the thing.
EMILY: Wonderful. Now this is your second teaming with...I hope
I don't screw up her name,
EMILY: Oh, I did pronounce it...thank God. So you had something
to do with the casting
as well then?
FAVREAU: Oh yeah. I wrote the part for her. I wrote the part
for Vince. I wrote the part for Vinny Pastore. I wrote the part
for Faizon Love. I found the little girl. She was the first
girl I met, the director introduced me to. Puffy came up to
me, and that was a pretty good fit. And...um...Peter Falk, I
sent a script to, so it was...and then other people, all those
cameos, are friends of mine.
EMILY: I wanted to touch upon this story around when you were
doing the research for Made. Evidently you went to the Sopranos,
and then they cast you in that. They put you actually in an
episode as a researcher, or...
FAVREAU: Okay, here's how it goes
I called David Chase
after I saw the pilot. We had a common agent. I said, "I
love the show." He said he loved Swingers. I talked to
him on the phone. Then he was back here on his hiatus and we
talked - went to his office. I said, "Look, you know, I
do tv sometimes." He said he loves my work. I said if there
is anything I can play on the show any time, I really love the
show, I'd love to do it, and occasionally I'll do television.
It's something I really like. So he says...he was talking about
some roles...some characters who came up in the second season
- people whose kids were like the guys who were running...I
don't know if you watch the show, but the guys who are running
the securities office...
EMILY: I've seen it once. I admit it. I don't have HBO.
FAVREAU: You only saw the show once? But there were some people
in the first...like some bad guys on the show, and I didn't
want to be a bad guy. I said I want to be somebody with the
family. Make it something good and I'll do it. So I got a call
when I was on the "Replacements," do I want to play
myself on the show? I said, "Me? I'm going to play me?"
He said, "Yeah, we're gonna put you in. One of the characters
has been wanting to write scripts and get into movies. We're
gonna make your assistant his cousin's finacé and then
gets to meet you and tries to give you the script, and you're
like a big shot that he's meeting."
EMILY: I wish I'd known. Has it aired yet?
FAVREAU: It aired a year ago or something
[he thinks I'm
a moron- but, hey, I've seen da show ting once I tells ya]
EMILY: Oh well, see. I don't watch the show. [gulp]
FAVREAU: So, anyway, so I said I'd love to do it. He sent me
the script. He has it that I'm there cause I want to research...I'm
hanging out with this guy, Michael Imperioli's character, 'cause
I'm researching a mob movie.But at the time, I really was, which
was really strange, because I'd never said anything to him about
that. So I came and I shot the episode. I got to meet like Vinny
Pastore, who I met, made an impression on me, and then I
met Drea de Mateo, who ended up putting in a cameo for me in
the movie, and...and I got some ideas from being around it,
talking to David Chase, but in the middle of writing the script
it gave me like a big boost of ideas that I incorporated into
FAVREAU: So, and I mentioned it to him that I was writing a
script when I was there. I don't think he remembers or that
he was paying much attention, but I was asking him questions
about the LA mob...Because that's sort of where I was basing
my thing, and he was telling me what he knew, and he was telling
me about different people I could talk to. I never really followed
up with it, but it really gave me a....I tried to incorporate
that. Like the hotel that I stayed at in the show was the Soho
Grand and there was a fish in the room.You know...I mean I tried
to add...It was real good.
EMILY: Well, you're definitely detail oriented. It shows in
the work. I just wanted to
ask you, do you have...and it's going to be a difficult question...do
you have a favorite
movie yourself, or is there something that you really look to
and go that's a perfect film?
FAVREAU: Um...I'm not...like a Citizen
Kane guy. I think it's cool, but...
EMILY: I love Orson Welles,
but I don't understand either why that's like end all of movies.
[Is there such a thing?] His other work gets
FAVREAU: Don't get me wrong. I love A Touch of Evil. I really
think he was great at what he did. When he was at his best,
if there was anybody
I love Scorsese a lot 'cause I love
his characters and how he lets his actors do their thing. But
yet finds a way to sculpt it into a very stylistic, consistent
piece that makes you feel something very viscerally, but yet
the dialogue meanders and is real and it doesn't feel stilted.
And then on the other end of the spectrum I love the Coen Brothers.
I really love how they sort of keep their movies so fun and
don't take it seriously, and it's just an enjoyable thing to
EMILY: Oh...yeah... Oh Brother, Where
Art Thou I thought was brilliant.
FAVREAU: And sort of right in the middle of those two, is like
Tarantino where he has a sense of fun and it's like you can
tell he just loves running the...making a movie, and he's having
as much fun telling the story as you're having watching it,
but still there is a certain real
grittiness to it. I loved Oh Brother Where Art Thou, too. I
saw it three times.
EMILY: Yeah. That's based on the Odyssey.
FAVREAU: Yeah. And I think that those three together, I mean,
are like covered every end of
the spectrum that I would like to explore, and of course, Woody
Allen also has...you
know...certain emotional and cultural resinence, or did at a
certain point in his career. I don't know that that's so much
the case anymore....I'm looking forward to his next one.
EMILY: Although I still watch Mel Brooks and I crack up
FAVREAU: I love Mel Brooks, and Albert Brooks, too. But Mel
Brooks is sort of...you know...he hasn't
EMILY: That's old school comedy. That's like from the childhood.
FAVREAU: I love it. You know, I grew up loving that, and that
was my thing, and I love Buster Keaton, too. I think if you're
gonna start to take away the timeliness of it, there's...you
know...Buster Keaton - I'll go see his movies at the silent
movie theater here. He's the real one that I studied as I was...like...before
Swingers I would go to the...they have a silent movie
theater and I would go watch every Buster Keaton show that they
had. Sit within the audience, to see how people still reacted.
EMILY: He's amazing. It's absolutely timeless. Well, what's
next for you? What
are you doing? I know you've got the big blitz now, of course,
FAVREAU: Talking to people. Of course, everybody wants to do
something. There's like small movies that I'm trying to help
get set up as I'm an actor in, and there's movies that are...that
people want me to write and direct, so there's...as this spins
out and there's another thing I
did with Ray and Kevin that I want to do, and I want to work
with Vince again...and I want to do a few more of those Dinner
EMILY: That's just great. I love the Independent Film Channel.
That's why I don't have HBO. Because I'm a poor person and I
could either have HBO or the IFC. Ah! No choice! Yeah, I miss
out on all these great shows that people are always talking
about, but...you know what? Usually I don't go with the public
anyway, so I'm not too concerned. Well, I do have an entertainment
news section on my site, so if you ever want to like let the
people know what's going on, feel free.
And also, remember to slip my personal number into Vince's
adorable mansteak hands. Hehehehe! (<- rodent cackle)
FAVREAU: Yeah, I'll have to tell tell him you were...um...confused
for a prostitute when you went out.
EMILY: I know
okay. Haha. Can you believe it? But, I'm
actually a chickbabe.
FAVREAU: [laughter] What's a chickbabe?
EMILY: Well, a gorgeous gal.
FAVREAU: Oh, are you?
EMILY: Oh yeah...
FAVREAU: You should e-mail me a picture and I'll pass it along
quasi-knowledge faux pas aside, I hope I asked all your questions.
And Blunterettes, which ever one of you sent me and requested
Vinnie's telephone number in the "Ten Reasons Vince Vaughn
Should Marry Me" e-mail/ poem you need to seek help
truly love all Jon's works. Get out and see Made.
And for those of you who missed Swingers, rent or buy it, that's
mandatory homework! Very
Bad Things is another underrated Jon gig. You call yourselves