Be careful who — and how — you tweet.
That's one of the lessons of "Chef," the new comedy written and directed by Jon Favreau. Favreau also stars as Carl Casper, a formerly celebrated chef who butts heads with the domineering owner of his restaurant (played by Dustin Hoffman). When a food blogger (Oliver Platt) writes a harsh review of Casper's cooking, the divorced dad answers his critic with what he thinks is a private message on Twitter. But he doesn't really understand how social media works, and his son (Emjay Anthony) let's Casper know that his public tweet has spread all over the Web and made him infamous.
Favreau gained a reputation for giant blockbusters after the back-to-back hits of "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2." But his big sci-fi Western "Cowboys & Aliens" was a box-office disappointment, and after he was attached to a few projects that didn't make it to the screen. He was originally going to direct the musical "Jersey Boys," but he dropped out and Clint Eastwood took over. Instead, Favreau chose to write a part for himself in a low-budget film that hearkened back to his early days in indie films like "Swingers" and "Made." Of course, he was still able to get some famous friends to lend a hand, and "Chef" features appearances by Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson.
The story of "Chef" is semi-autobiographical, with Casper going back to his roots after his public flame-out and going into business for himself with a food truck. But one big difference between Favreau and his character is that the writer-director is actually a Twitter expert. Favreau first joined back in 2009 before he even began shooting "Iron Man 2," and his tweet received only one favorite and one retweet.
Logging in for the first time. Scouting locations tomorrow for Iron Man 2.— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) March 4, 2009
Five years later, @Jon_Favreau has garnered 1.7 million followers, and he used social media to document the entire process of filming "Chef." And he was even able to persuade old pal Downey to join as well.
Please be gentle...it's my first time. Testament to my trust in that guy who directed @ChefTheFilm.— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) April 12, 2014
Favreau isn't giving up entirely on blockbusters. Next up for him will be a live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" for Walt Disney Pictures. It will be another big-budget production, but it seems likely the only tweeting in it will be from actual (or at least CGI) birds.
"Chef" is out in limited release now, and will expand to more cities throughout the month of May.