Jon Favreau isn’t directing “Star Wars,” but he would have if someone had just asked him. Or at least, that’s what MTV News learned when we caught up with the director/writer/actor at SXSW while he was plugging his newest, non-space set film “Chef.”
For context, back in 2012 it was rumored that the front-runners to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII” were J.J. Abrams, Matthew Vaughan, and Jon Favreau. Favreau is no stranger to the franchise, having voiced a recurring role in the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
But to direct a feature is a large leap, and even for one experienced with scifi from his time on “Iron Man” and “Cowboys and Aliens.” But as it turns out, those rumors were far from true.
“I didn’t go after it,” Favreau said, “but it’s one of those things that, as people would say they weren’t going to do it, and as there were questions coming my way as to my availability… I was really scared of the idea that nobody was gonna [do it], and so if they had come to me, I don’t know how you say no to that thing.”
For better or for worse, Favreau wasn’t officially offered the gig and instead it went to J.J. Abrams, who is currently prepping the movie for release in December, 2015. Luckily, Favreau couldn’t be happier with the choice.
“He’s great because he works with the old generation, and he works with the new generation,” Favreau continued. “You see what he did with ‘Star Trek.’ He kept the fans satisfied, because he kept true to the spirit of it, and yet he made it something. That’s a hard thing that I don’t think anyone can accomplish except for him. He’s uniquely qualified for it.”
Favreau went in the opposite direction from “Star Wars”: instead of going big, he’s gone small, making a non-FX driven story of a chef taking a cross-country journey to reconnect with his roots. Instead of space battles, he’s concentrating on food. And perhaps because of his brush with a galaxy far, far away Favreau used that experience to create his own return to basics.
“It would have been a very scary gig for me,” Favreau noted. “Not just because of the scope and the scale, but because it was a very formative piece of work. I think they got the right guy.”
“Chef” hits theaters on May 9.