Chef director Jon Favreau says it’s surreal to look at how far the Marvel movies have come since he made Iron Man.
Favreau, who also directed the sequel, compares the experience to making Elf, the Will Ferrell holiday film.
“That was successful and still is on TV every year, but there were no sequels, not a lot of merchandising, and it sort of stands alone,” he says from Los Angeles, while talking about his latest movie Chef.
“So that’s one experience.
“This one’s very different.”
He says so many of the characters that were involved in Iron Man and Iron Man 2 have gone onto become bigger parts in the Marvel universe, in blockbuster movies such as The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
It’s particularly exciting, because while the Marvel films are hugely popular now, Favreau says Iron Man was not a big film when they were making it.
“Especially the first one … It was a small movie where we were just struggling to hopefully have put something up that people would like and would not lose money for this new studio,” he says.
“But you look back at it and you see all the characters, even like Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), who was somebody we threw in after the credits as like a little wink to our fans.
“Now he’s been in half a dozen Marvel movies already and had a huge part in the Captain America movie.
“And look at Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who’s a huge action persona within the Marvel universe, and even my neighbour Clark Gregg, who I asked as a favour to come in and play Agent Coulson. He has a whole TV series (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D).”
Favreau says he feels grateful that all the little things they did in those films ended up being embraced so much.
“Through the support of these other really talented directors who are continuing the legacy, it’s really fun for me to be able to look on and watch what it turns into – it’s like watching a family grow,” he says.
“So it’s very flattering but it’s also, it could not have been less expected from how precarious the first one felt when we were trying to figure out what story we were going to tell.”
* Chef opens in Australian cinemas on May 8.
* Captain America: The Winter Soldier is out now.