In case you couldn’t tell by the triple billing writer/director/star Jon Favreau has on his upcoming film “Chef,” the journey for the food-based flick has been an extremely personal one. And as MTV News found out when we caught up with the talented multi-hyphenate at SXSW, this wasn’t just another blockbuster for Favreau.
“Definitely when you’re in a franchise, there is an urge to keep delivering on what’s successful,” Favreau said. “But honestly, unlike in the food business, in franchises you need to do that. There’s a bit of a departure, but what I wanted to capture is the creative process.”
Still, it’s not like there’s a one-to-one comparison between Favreau’s journey in “Chef,” where his character goes from big-time restaurateur to managing his own food truck; and Favreau’s own personal journey.
“With food, it’s right there, because either they will eat the food, or they will not eat the food,” Favreau said. “If they send half a plate of food back, it’s devastating for these guys. Whereas with a director it’s a lot more forgiving. If people are in the movie theater halfway across the country, you don’t feel it.”
Favreau also noted that the power of critics is much stronger in the food world, as “one critic will make or break you.” Not so for movies where, “you’re a little number next to a tomato.”
There is one aspect of “Chef” that Favreau did completely identify with, though: his relationship with social media.
“There’s a sequence in here where the guy discovers Twitter and starts reading, digging through the Internet seeing what people are saying,” Favreau said. “And I’ve had that experience. Everyone I know who’s opened up that manhole cover once knows to close it.”
Another difference, though: whereas Favreau said chefs in real life will “start a war” with haters on the internet, he knows better than to respond to negative Internet chatter.
“I don’t think chefs know how big they are,” Favreau said. “Chefs are like rock stars now, and then it gets picked up by blogs. If you want to get a sense of things, you look through it… And if starts to get ugly, after two sentences you learn to move to the next one.”
But more than social media, or metaphors for his own life, Favreau just wanted to show movie audiences how beautiful food can be.
“Food is one of those things you can see people making, and feel like you’re experiencing,” Favreau said. “It’s cinematic.”
“Chef” hits theaters everywhere on May 9.