The mega-blockbuster giant Iron Man 3 opened yesterday and is on it’s way to be a box office smash – one of the biggest ever. The man responsible for all of this Iron Man mayhem is writer, Jon Favreau. Remember back in 1996 when he came out of nowhere and wrote the indie hit Swingers? Let’s revisit the time before Tony Stark and Elf and Cowboys and Aliens and take note of how one of today’s biggest players in Hollywood started out.
A year before Swingers release, Favreau was paying $470/month for an apartment in a low-rent section of Hollywood. He wrote Swingers in two weeks on a software program his dad gave him. His intent was to write a film he could star in. Swingers is based on Favreau’s own experiences as an actor-comedian struggling to get over a relationship left behind in New York when he moved to Hollywood. His agent shopped the script around and they had a six-figure offer under the condition that it would be a star vehicle project…for someone else. Favreau declined, optioned the script to his friend/director Doug Liman [Jumper, Mr. & Mrs. Smith] for $1000 only if he and his friend Vince Vaughn would be the stars. Done. They raised $250,000 from private investors and went on to make this now, cult hit. “I fell in love with the script,” said Liman. He quickly suggested that the movie should be made even more cheaply than the producers were planning. “I told them, ‘You don’t need all that stuff. . . Let’s just make it and do it cheap’.
Not familiar with Swingers, baby? Here’s a summary and a few quotes for the road.
When the lovesick Mike can’t seem to shake a relationship rut, his smooth, fast talking buddy Trent decides he’ll do whatever it takes to show Mike a good time. Whether laughing over martinis in smoky cocktail lounges or searching for beautiful babies on an outrageous road trip to Vegas, the young Swingers are determined to rewrite the rules of modern dating.
Trent: Look at this, okay? I want you to remember this face, here. Okay? This is the guy behind the guy behind the guy.
Mike: Trent, the beautiful babies don’t work the midnight to six shift on a Wednesday. This is like the skank shift.
Trent: They’re gonna give daddy the Rainman suite, you dig that?
Mike: Do you think we’ll get there by midnight?
Trent: Baby, we’re going to be up five hundy by midnight!
Trent: Vegas baby! Vegas!
Mike: So how long do I wait to call?
Trent: A day.
Sue: Tomorrow, then a day.
Mike: So two days?
Trent: Yeah, I guess you could call it that, two days.
Sue: Definitely, two days is like industry standard.
Trent: You know I used to wait two days to call anybody, but now it’s like everyone in town waits two days. So I think three days is kind of money. What do you think?
Sue: Yeah, but two’s enough not to look anxious.
Trent: Yeah, two’s enough not to look anxious. But I think three days is kind of money. You know because you…
Mike: Yeah, but you know what, mabey I’ll wait 3 weeks. How’s that? And tell her I was cleaning out my wallet and I just happened to run into her number.
Charles: Then ask her where you met her.
Mike: Yeah, I’ll ask her where I met her. I don’t remember. What does she look like? And then I’ll asked if we fucked. Is that… would that be… T, would that be the money?
Trent: You know what. Ha ha ha Mike, laugh all you want but if you call too soon you might scare off a nice baby who’s ready to party.
Mike: Well how long are you guys gonna wait to call your babies?
Trent, Sue: Six days.
Watch this clip when despite their rough start at the tables, Trent [Vaughn] is still convinced he and Mike [Favreau] can score big with the beautiful babies in Vegas.
Fast forward 17 years – Favreau has transitioned from actor, to writer, to director and most likely collects one of the biggest paychecks in Hollywood. He did not direct or write Iron Man 3, but he did Executive Produce it and is playing the character, Happy Hogan again, Tony Stark’s bodyguard, chauffeur, and friend.
Will you be one of the millions hitting the theaters to watch IM3 this weekend? Well, if you’re in the mood for something a little less blockbustery – watch Swingers and the very beginning of Favreau’s uber-successful career.