Favreau is at work on ‘Iron Man’ sequel and a political cause

Aug. 19, 2008 | 9:54 p.m.

41706564 Favreau is at work on Iron Man sequel and a political causeI just talked to Jon Favreau a bit ago, and he said that while there hasn’t been an formal announcement on the sequel to “Iron Man,” he’s begun developing it. “We’re working on it now,” he said, “which hasn’t been officially announced. It will be released in 2010.”

No surprise there, of course. The first film in the franchise has pulled in well over a half-billion dollars in worldwide box office and was met with strong reviews.

Favreau is also busy these days championing a political cause. Here’s the top of a story that I have in tomorrow’s print edition of The Times.

As the state’s budget crisis continues, Sacramento certainly has money on its mind, but it’s hardly star-struck when it comes to Hollywood and its problems with runaway production.

Nevertheless, “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have become unexpected partners in a push to create tax breaks for film and television shows in an effort to keep their production in California, a political cause that has very little traction with state lawmakers and, to the governor’s chagrin, even less footing in celebrity fundraising circles.

There’s been a 40% decline in the number of film production days shot on location in Los Angeles since 1997, and the stampede east by the makers of high-profile projects is intensifying after New York Gov. David Paterson signed a bill in April delivering a lush new package of incentives.

Favreau is one the nice guys in the industry, and I think he has a lot of credibility. But I also think he will have a hard slog with this cause.

The stars who have the most political clout are also the ones who can already wire up their contracts with clauses that keep them home in L.A. (or get them a jet ride home on weekends). Also, most of them are liberals, who are not typically inclined to support corporate tax breaks. In Sacramento, meanwhile, there is not a lot of love on either side of the aisle for the concept of handing tax breaks to Hollywood studios. They also happen to have budget crisis underway.

I will tell you the governor definitely wants people (or perhaps just his old friends and once-and-future employers in Hollywood) to hear him right now on this topic. For this story, I got him on the phone (not the easiest thing to do on any day) in the middle a full-blown crisis and on the day after he announced the layoff of 10,000 state employees. Schwarzenegger cites “the push back” from state lawmakers as the reason he hasn’t gotten anywhere on this issue, but his critics, such as Nikki Finke, blame him for a lack of leadership. So the question now is whether the former action hero is just trying to rehabilitate his standing in Hollywood before he leaves office or if he sees some chance of actually making headway on this stagnant issue.

— Geoff Boucher

Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times

RELATED All “Iron Man” coverage at Hero Complex

More in: Uncategorized, Iron Man, Jon Favreau


5 Responses to Favreau is at work on ‘Iron Man’ sequel and a political cause

  1. Mel Valentin says:

    Geoff, care to cite any information (e.g., surveys, polls, etc.) regarding your comments about Hollywood liberals? It's one of those oft-mentioned, throwaway comments the press (and others) make, but I can't recall anyone actually doing a full-fledged article about the subject. Even if they did, they'd have to look into political fundraising, donations, etc., and not just a few, high-profile activists.
    The business of Hollywood is business, not politics. If it were the latter, then we would have seen more films critical of the Bush administration over the last seven+ years, not the few, watered-down ones released over the last year or two (after Bush was reelected).
    In any case, I'd like to see more information above and beyond the anecdotal information provided here about corporate tax breaks and Hollywood opposition to those tax breaks. I'm unconvinced any kind of "hard" opposition exists (more like indifference).

  2. Geoff Boucher says:

    Well we're talking about a couple of different things here. Certainly the business of Hollywood is money. I would never suggest anything different. In this piece what I was referring to was the governor's belief that major Hollywood stars (the ones who are actively engaged in political fundraising and using their celebrity for causes) could help secure tax credits for Hollywood in California if they decided it was important to them. That particular group of people is dominated by liberals. That's abundantly clear during every presidential season by the number and size of fundraising events in the entertainment industry for Democratic candidates.

  3. dtr says:

    It's nice to hear an actor sticking up for the people they work with who need the jobs in this state., although it helps that Jon is also a director (who are probably more sympathetic as they work more directly with the crew) There seems to be a stigma among actors about this issue that I don't understand. Very few actors speak about out about this. For instance, the Ugly Betty actors where extremely vocal about the writers strike but dead silent about leaving California and their crew.

  4. Brett Smith says:

    Wow! A Hollywood Lib who actually is advoacting tax cuts/incentives? Imagine that. Actually make it condusive, or profitable to film in LA. What a grand idea! I had forgotten that's what business's did, being make a profit. Congrats John, welcome to the wonderful world of making America competetive again instead of sending all filming to Australia.

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