At this moment in his career, Jon Favreau is feelin' "so money." The star and scribe of Swingers and Made is the creator, producer and host of his own IFC chatfest, Dinner for Five. He just directed Will Ferrell in Elf (opens Nov. 7). He's also slated to do a slew of other upcoming movies. (Phew!) But despite his busy big-screen life, he still finds time to fret about finding more Dinner guests.
"I just worked with Jack Nicholson [on Something's Gotta Give]. I'd love to get him," Favreau tells TV Guide Online. "But I didn't have the nerve to ask him. He doesn't do any press, so he's gonna do this little IFC show?"
Sometimes, though, he does lean on his newfound friends for favors. "Peter Billingsley was in [Elf]," the 37-year-old giddily points out. "He was Ralphie in A Christmas Story, and he did a cameo as one of the elves. He is also my producing partner on Dinner for Five. So that's how I hit him up to do it. I drew him out of retirement."
Additionally, Favreau invited several of his Elf castmates Ferrell, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen and Zooey Deschanel to dine in a recent Dinner episode. Was it fun to see them out of character? "When you have people working together, it is more interesting to see the dynamic of the people joking around," he says. "There were [setside] stories that I wanted to know about, but I sort of waited until I got on the show to find out."
While Favreau usually serves up a lovely course of banter and dish, it's not always easy. Has he ever wished he could uninvite any of his guests? "Rod Steiger," he admits, a bit reluctantly. "I have the utmost respect for him. I think he was a warm human being, and a wonderful performer. I was honored to have him on, and it was one of his last appearances. But he was... 'interesting' in a crowd."