The Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago held a gala at the Four Seasons Chicago on June 15 called "Marvel, Movies, and More: Honoring Jon Favreau in Conversation with Robert Downey Jr."
Actor, director, producer and screenwriter Jon Favreau was presented with the 2019 Renaissance Award. He's a longtime friend of the Center, attending in 2009 to honor filmmaker George Lucas. Favreau worked early in his career in Chicago at improv theaters. His most recent accomplishment was as executive producer of the massively successful movie Avengers: Endgame.
He talked on the red carpet before the evening's festivities about the latest project The Lion King: "I've been working with Beyonce, Hans Zimmer and Pharrell for close to three years now, so it's been my life. You realize when you have great music then you have shortcuts in storytelling, especially when people already have a connection to it. Any classic stage piece that people already have an emotional relationship with, when the music comes on, it completely transforms the experience. Having that safety net of connecting with the audience already has allowed us to take a lot of chances with the technical aspect of it. It's such a great cast of talented singers."
"How many octaves does Seth Rogen have?" Downey joked after hearing that.
The evening continued with a formal dinner and conversation between the two performers that included Favreau's career and influences. Favreau said, "It's nice to be honored, but it's nicer to spend time with my friend and us to have a conversation onstage."
The Film Center continues showing screenings of LGBT interest this month with the first Chicago run of Diamantino, about a soccer star; and A Bigger Splash, which features gay artist David Hockney. A full schedule can be found at SiskelFilmCenter.org .