Jon Favreau’s appearance in Friends is often a little overlooked, seeing as it happened before he really became famous. Favreau played Monica’s boyfriend Pete, the millionaire who became a cage fighter, losing Monica’s affections in the process.
Though Favreau has continued to pick up acting roles here and there, it’s behind the camera where he’s had the most success. Favreau directed Christmas comedy classic Elf, passion project Chef, recent Disney remake The Lion King, but most his most important contribution to cinema came in 2008.
Favreau directed Iron Man, bringing the MCU to life, while also pushing for Robert Downey Jnr’s casting ahead of studio favourites Sam Rockwell and Tom Cruise. Favreau also played Happy Hogan in the film series, and directed the sequel before handing over to Shane Black for the third film in the trilogy, after falling out with Marvel over not being given the Avengers ahead of Joss Whedon.
Considering how important RDJ was to the overall success of the MCU, it’s not just Favreau’s direction which was important, but his foresight to see exactly why the then risky entity of Robert Downey Jnr was perfect for the role.