From time to time, we have a feature on /Film called “Movie Playlist” where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.

We’ve had some great artists tell us their favorites over the years, but we just don’t have the connections to get the likes of Steven Spielberg or Wes Anderson… but Gwyneth Paltrow does. Yes, I said Gwyneth Paltrow. On the actresses’ new website GOOP, she asked “five brilliant directors” to share their “top five DVD rental picks.”
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Jon Favreau Shows Off Tony Stark’s House on Twitter

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Hopefully, Peter’s recent post about actors and directors using social networking/blogging site Twitter opened up a whole new world for of information for you. If you’re a Twitter user, you can now keep track of the latest Repo: The Genetic Opera developments, read frustratingly cryptic and psychologically disturbing thoughts from the guy who who directed Hard Candy, or find out whatever the hell it is Demi Moore is doing after all these years. Turns out, though, that some directors are using Twitter to share some potentially useful and interesting information.

Just yesterday, Jon Favreau posted a photo on Twitter, with the description “Matty and me in Casa de Stark,” under construction. As MC Hammer recently opined regarding Twitter, what he loves about the service is that it disintermediates the distance between fans and celebrities. As filmmakers and marketers discover how easy the service is to use, my guess is you can expect to see much more of this type of stuff in the days to come. Hit the jump to see Tony Stark’s house under construction with Jon Favreau and cinematographer Matthew Libatique.
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blunt morgan

While Iron Man director Jon Favreau was walking the red carpet at the Oscars, the director apparently revealed to E! that Emily Blunt is officially out as Black Widow in Iron Man 2. According the the Playlist, Favreau said that 20th Century Fox has decided to exercise their option on the actress, an option that was part of Blunt’s Devil Wears Prada contract, and that she will be starring in Gulliver’s Travels instead.

Also, professional wrestler turned American Gladiator Matt Morgan appeared on Hot Talk 1280 WHTK and revealed that he is in talks to play a villain role in the comic book sequel. He couldn’t reveal anymore, according to WrestleZone (found via: Comic Book Movie), but said that the casting directors discovered him on American Gladiators. The TNA wrestler is also supposedly going to have a part in the 9th season of Smallville.

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steven spielberg

Entertainment Weekly just published their list of the 25 Greatest Active Film Directors. It’s one of those really annoying slideshow stories, so we’ve done the legwork and printed the entire shortlist after the jump.
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First Look: Couples Retreat

USA Today has a first look at the cast of Peter Billingsley‘s directorial debut, Couples Retreat. Based on an idea by Vince Vaughn, and scripted by Jon Favreau, the PG-13 (ick!) comedy stars Favs, Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis, Kali Hawk, and Malin Akerman. Jean Reno and John Michael Higgins co-star as the resort’s mastermind and the therapist.

The movie will tell the story a married couple, played by Bell and Bateman, who drag their three married friends to a couples herapy vacation in order to save on costs. The other couples quickly learn that participation in the resort’s couples therapy is not optional, and they become “forced to scrutinize the states of their own marriages.” Vaughn gives us a character rundown:

“Jason and Kristen are Type A’s struggling to have kids. Faizon and his wife have just separated, and he is dating a young girl from Foot Locker (Hawk). Me and my wife (Akerman) are swamped with the kids and work. Favreau and Kristin Davis are secretly not completely faithful to each other.”

Entertainment Tonight has a set visit video report, which you can watch here. Billingsley began has career as a child actor, best known as Ralphie in A Christmas Story, and later the producer of Favreau’s films: Made, Zathura, The Break-Up, Iron Man and Four Christmases. The Universal Pictures comedy doesn’t currently have a release date.

Thanks to /Film reader Jack Q for the tip.

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I Love You, Man Movie Trailer

Dreamworks has released the official movie trailer for Along Came Polly director John Hamburg‘s new comedy I Love You, Man, which stars Paul Rudd as a newly engaged guy sets out to find the perfect “Best Man” for his wedding. The film costars Jason Segel, Jaime Pressly, Andy Samberg, Jon Favreau, and Rashida Jones. I’m a big fan of many of the actors involved, but I just didn’t find the trailer all that funny. I also wasn’t a fan of Along Came Polly either. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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You can watch the trailer in High Definition on Yahoo. I Love You, Man is scheduled to hit theaters on March 20th 2009. SXSW announced last night that the movie would be the opening night film of the 2009 SXSW Film Festival (I’ve included the press release after the jump.
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How Terrence Howard Lost Iron Man 2

Entertainment Weekly has an interesting story anylizing why Terrence Howard might have not been cast in Iron Man 2. While insiders cite Howard’s “difficult behavior” on the set of Iron Man, it might also have a bit to do with money.

Apparently, Howard was the first actor signed on for Iron Man, which somehow made him the highest paid actor on the project, above Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow and even… Robert Downey Jr. Pretty crazy, eh? But it was too late to renegotiate after the project fully came together, and EW sources claim that “Favreau and his producers were ultimately unhappy with Howard’s performance, and spent a lot of time cutting and reshooting his scenes.”

Now onto Iron Man 2… Favs and screenwriter Justin Theroux decided to minimize Jim Rhodes’ role in the sequel. This resulted in Marvel going out to Howard’s agents with a “drasticly reduced offer” estimated to be a 50 to 80 percent cut, but more in line with the supporting cast member’s salary of the first film. One can only guess what happened next, but I’m assuming that Marvel got a cold response and moved quickly on Don Cheadle, and in affect beefed up the Rhodes role in the sequel.

Quint over at AICN has a fascinating interview with Iron Man director Jon Favreau. I want to point out two key segments, one where he talks about IMAX, and the other when he talks about James Cameron‘s Avatar. First up, IMAX. Favreau has said that after seeing The Dark Knight, he’s interesting in possibly shooting some sequences of Iron Man 2 using IMAX cameras. But after further investigation into the costs involved with the process, it doesn’t seem like it will happen after all.

“I think it works well for Dark Knight because a lot of that was just practical shots and helicopter shots or shots where there’s CGI in the background, set extensions things like that. But you didn’t have a CGI Batman running through the frame all the time.” … “The difficulty with our film is that our main character is CG a lot of the time. And when you start shooting in IMAX format… it’s a bit unwieldy on the set first of all and second of all, I’m not convinced yet that CGI is going to look…” Favreau admitted to AICN. “And I think that IMAX, I’m warned, costs a lot more, it’s a lot harder to render because of the resolution and I’m not sure at that resolution CGI is convincing yet. So, there are a lot of drawbacks, but in meeting with them the blowups to IMAX format are as effective in many ways, so we’ll see where we land on it, but I doubt that we’re actually going to have IMAX cameras on the set. It becomes very difficult for processing and all of that.”

That’s really too bad, because I think most of the moviegoing public is convinced that those 35mm to IMAX blow-ups are just a marketing gimmick, and I would be hard pressed to disagree. But at the same time, I can understand the challenges of rendering CG effects at such a high resolution. As Favreau says, The Dark Knight worked because so little of it was computer generated. Favreau admits that he was amazed by the giant screen presentation, but from the sound of it, he seems more impressed by a Avatar presentation that James Cameron showed him.

“He’s trying to present this format in a way where it is a game-changer and in seeing it I think it’s the future. I don’t think it’s a flash in the pan. I think it’s going to open up a whole new door and I think more so than the glasses it becomes about how many screens could actually present it in its pristine form,” said Favreau. “The amount of screens is just growing at a very, very fast rate in the states and I think in Europe as well and I think AVATAR is going to be the kind of movie that’s an event that you have to go see and you want to see again just to understand what you’re looking at. And then you still have his very effective storytelling. He really creates an adventure and draws you into it in the hero’s journey sense of storytelling, the Joseph Campbell sense of storytelling. I really liked the bits that I saw and I saw all the various stages of finished, but he’s a purist in the way he approaches things, and he’s very meticulous.”

Favreau says they are “exploring using similar techniques” to Avatar “n Iron Man 2 because “it is a game-changer from a production standpoint”. The line between animation and live action is becoming blurred.

“What I’m trying to incorporate is more of a, certainly for the action sequences, create a pipeline that’s more similar to a CGI film like a Pixar film or even like AVATAR. Where you can work on and refine the action stuff before you even begin shooting, and let the action and the performances be serviced by the plates and not back into a performance by the plates that you’ve shot.”

There is no doubt that Zemeckis and Cameron are revolutionizing the way to make movies, but I’m still not convinced that the end result is a better film. Yes, the filmmaker has much more control than he would ever have normally, but the computer animated characters look stiff, and unreal. I’m hoping that Avatar will be the game changer that Favreau says it will be. You can read the full interview over on AICN.

Marvel Entertainment has just announced that Robert Downey Jr and Don Cheadle have signed on for both Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau will also executive produce The Avengers. As previously reported, Cheadle will be replacing Terrence Howard as Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes.

The announcement also comes with the first look at a plot synopsis tease: ” “In a movie event, The Avengers will bring together the super hero team of Marvel Comics characters for the first time ever, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and more, as they are forced to band together to battle the biggest foe they’ve ever faced.” Who could that be? With Hulk on the listed team line-up, does that mean that the big green guy is out as a possibility?

Iron Man 2 hits theaters on May 7th 2010, and The Avengers hits theaters on July 15th 2011. Check out the full press release after the jump.

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Favreau gives Tony Hawk a Tour of Stan Winston Studios

The Pitch: While filming an episode of Iconoclasts, Jon Favreau gave skateboard legend Tony Hawk a tour of Stan Winston Studios.

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