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november / december 2005:

He redefined cool in Swingers, made a movie about Santa's Elf, and regularly has Dinner For Five, but now he's headed into outer space, and he's taking a house with him.

profiles by Benyamin Cohen & Bradford R. Pilcher

Before 1996, if you mentioned reality television, Google, or the name Jon Favreau, people would think you're from outer space. And that’s exactly where the Queens-born actor/writer/director will be taking movie audiences this winter with his latest film, Zathura, about two young brothers who are drawn into an intergalactic adventure when their house is magically hurtled through space.

The family-friendly flick (Favreau has two children with wife Joya) is a far cry from his indie beginnings when, along with writing pal Vince Vaughn, they broke into the mainstream’s consciousness with 1996’s Vegas road trip film Swingers. After that, as they so eloquently stated in the movie, it was all money.

Read all the winter movie profiles:
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Jack Black
  • Amanda Peet
  • Zach Braff
  • Jon Favreau
  • Mel Brooks
  • Hollywood’s doors opened up to Favreau and he was cast in major roles in such films as The Replacements, Rudy, and Deep Impact. But for the 39-year-old Favreau, he really only felt comfortable behind the camera. So, in 2003, he did what any good Jewish boy would do: He directed a feel-good Christmas movie called Elf. It did huge at the box office and he’s now in talks for a sequel.

    But don’t fret, fellow members of the tribe. Favreau has a project up his sleeve just for you. For practically the last decade, he’s been hard at work with buddy Vaughn on a screenplay called The Marshal of Revelation, a western about a Chassidic Jewish gunfighter seeking revenge after a Russian Cossack kills his family.

    “The film has led me on a personal journey to become more involved in my religion,” says Favreau, who told us that he’s now attending his Santa Monica synagogue on a weekly basis. “Now that I have two kids, I recognize my mortality and the presence of God more.”

    Meanwhile, those wanting to fill up on Favreau now can spend Friday night dinner with him each week. He hosts four fellow celebrities to talk shop with him on his popular IFC show, Dinner for Five. T “What’s interesting, I think, is that we’re creating a different dynamic in which to see people that you already know. It’s the same reason that people like to see, you know, Heidi Fleiss boxing Paula Jones,” he says. “They want to see people in a different atmosphere.”

    Release date: November 11

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