Jon Favreau

Actor, producer, writer and director Jon Favreau hit unlikely pay dirt when "Swingers" (1996), his low-budget, autobiographical indie about struggling young actors, turned he and co-star/real-life best friend Vince Vaughn into hot property seemingly overnight. Favreau parlayed his rising profile into a number of supporting big-screen roles as cynical side men, but he was more anxious to get behind the camera and direct bigger features. After another indie buddy comedy with Vaughn, mob farce "Made" (2001), Favreau went wide with the holiday hit "Elf" (2003), starring a spandex-clad Will Ferrell. His acclaimed adaptation of the kids book "Zathura: A Space Adventure" (2005) missed the mark with audiences, but his 2008 adaptation of Marvel Comics' "Iron Man" starring Robert Downey, Jr. was one of the most anticipated action films of the year, leading to a return to leading man status for Downey, Jr. and hard-won blockbuster credentials for its highly creative director. Along with continuing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a producer and actor (playing Tony Stark's personal assistant Happy Hogan), Favreau found further success as a director through films as varied as the romantic comedy-drama "Chef" (2014) and the CGI blockbusters "The Jungle Book" (2016) and "The Lion King" (2019).