Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian, and an Intergenerational Experience
Favreau, Filoni, Reed, and the cast, the crew created yet another touchstone moment for Star Wars….
Full disclosure, truth be told, yadle, yadle, yadle, filmmaker Jon Favreau maintains a special place in my mental headspace. And, as you might imagine, I’m trying to fit a lot in a simple blog post about The Mandalorian Season 2 finale.
In short, I love the guy’s work and have for a long, long time.
Even before Iron Man, way before The Mandalorian (or any of his other roles, shows, films,) Swingers remains a favorite movie (top 10 in the “Bish List”), screenplay, and soundtrack. Not only did it inspire a forever love of “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy” and swing music, but it also inspired a real interest in how movies get made, how Hollywood works.
The clip has some PG-13 language…
Go Daddy O
But beyond that, and beyond the spectacular resolution for “Mikey” (dancing with Lorraine to “Go Daddy O”), Swingers also gave me some insight, based on the many articles and the on-disk documentary about the filming, into how much of a craft is moviemaking.
Hey, forgive me, I grew up almost as far as you could from Los Angeles, California (in the U.S.). I had cows and a tobacco farm just outside my neighborhood in suburban Connecticut.
Personal, intimate films — nuance — were not in my wheelhouse until college in Boston.
However, what I eventually learned was it wasn’t easy to get “there” from “here” and that staying “true” to the craft was a “real” give and take. Sometimes you have to be diplomatic. Sometimes you have to stamp your foot. Most of the time, it’s a combo of both.
Far from the easy-go-lucky way he presents himself, it’s clear that Favreau — filmmaker/actor/showrunner — takes his craft(s) very seriously. And, after so many successes, there’s confidence in how he presents himself. But was that always the case? The confidence? The strength of craft?
Speaking of the production of Swingers and how Jon insisted she be the voice (on the phone) of “Mikey’s” ex, producer Nicole LaLoggia explained she wanted nothing to do with it.
“The truth of the matter is, I was so sick of him and so over everything and so tired that I wanted to kill him,” said LaLoggia, whose memory of the production was integral to the fabulous Grantland article, “So Money: An oral history of Swingers.”
“It was very difficult for me to do that [scene],” added LoLoggia, who partnered with Favreau to get the film made and shown. “I really wanted to wring his neck.”
It’s a prescient piece; not only because LaLoggia spoke in intricate detail about Favreau (who wrote the script) and his relationship with Doug Limon (who directed the film on a shoestring budget), but because in the Grantland story, we learn just how methodical and, yes, over-the-top (crazy?) Jon was about the success of the project.
Of the Swingers film, and its production, LaLoggia added, “Jon was crazed. We gotta do this right now...
“It was urgent,” she added.
Emotions Run Deep
Given how much we know about the behind-the-scenes of both seasons of The Mandalorian, thanks in large part to the several episodes of “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian,” it feels like that urgency and intensity remain; even if the youthful naivete (and post-adolescent piss and vinegar) do not.
That’s exactly why I think we got a seminal moment in Star Wars and TV history when we watched the finale to Season 2.
“I think there’s an interplay between storytellers and the people you tell stories to,” said Favreau on Gallery. “I find that the emotions run very deep with Star Wars, and peoples’ relationship, who grew up with it from a young age feel a lot of connection to it.”
Favreau has never made much of a secret regarding his love of Star Wars. Way before he was a showrunner, his Twitter avatar was a droid, and even as Mikey in Swingers, he talked about the “Jedi mind shit.” From the first clap, it remained obvious that while he is a real pro, the fan that is Jon Favreau was never far away.
“I think the one consistent thing that I am feeling is that people care deeply that it’s being handled correctly and that it’s being handled respectfully,” continued Favreau to Gallery‘s cameras. “[Star Wars] meant so much, and [fans] wanna see it continue into the future and feel like it’s all connected with consistency.
“We’re very lucky that between Lucasfilm and Kathy [Kennedy], the whole group that we have are incredibly supportive and encouraging.”
The Child Inside
However, one wonders just how integral Favreau and his partnership with George Lucas apprentice Dave Filoni have meant to Star Wars on Disney+? What makes their productions so well received when many Disney Star Wars projects receive less than universal praise?
But, if you couple the drive and (maniacal) effort LaLoggia described in Grantland, with a final couple of quotes from Gallery, I think we learn quite a bit about why The Mandalorian means so much to so many.
“This job is great in so many ways, and I think people think the job is great because we get to tell the story because we do these effects because we get these experiences,” said Filoni, who now works as a mentor to so many at Lucasfilm. “But also great is just standing on the side and watching somebody.
“I saw the child inside Jon, that he experienced Star Wars [… and] you realize they’re remembering what it meant… and you realize that you’ve been a part of constructing something that’s giving that experience to people.
“This good feeling, which — Star Wars — should deliver a good feeling; an uplifting feeling in you and your family, your kids, whatever.”
An Intergenerational Experience
Moreover, the kicker comes in the below “admission” from Favreau, as he describes what seems to be a seminal moment in his own history.
“A lot of Star Wars fans are of this age where they’re not the Luke Skywalkers anymore,” he said, eyes steaming up. “They’re the parents now, and they’re saying goodbye to their kids as they go off to school or off to college.
“I think that’s what’s nice about a good myth and a good story, and certainly the world that George created is that there’s room for all the archetypes of every age. I think that’s part of why it becomes an intergenerational experience.
“And just as my father brought me to the first Star Wars, there’s a lot of people sitting on the couch with their kids.”Jon Favreau
“They may be watching for different reasons,” added Favreau. “But I like in this atomized entertainment economy where everybody is looking at things that are bespoke for them, and everybody has their own log-in, and everybody has their own platform that they like to look at, to have a moment where you could have several members of a family together, watching the same thing and sharing the same experience – that’s what good television and good movies are all about.”
Finally, he said, “I’m very proud of that.”
Go, Daddy O, indeed.