The (unofficial) story behind Iron Man 2 is that director Jon Favreau and Marvel heads didn’t see eye to eye on the sequel, which then gave rise to a movie that suffered from shoehorned Avengers setup material. Thereafter, Favreau took a break from the Marvel Universe, to go and make Cowboys & Aliens instead. However, it turned out that hodgepodge script – the handiwork of multiple writers after a decade of development – ultimately resulted in yet another lukewarm comic book movie.

Point being, it’s a good time for Favreau to take a break from making blockbusters and dealing with (overly-meddling) studio executives. As it were, that’s exactly what he’s doing, by making his next directorial project the indie flick Chef.

Chef tells the story of a man – named Carl Casper – who loses his prestigious chef job; this leads him to start up his own food truck, in order to reclaim his artistic promise and (at the same time) repair ties with his estranged family. Favreau, in a bit of meta-casting, will play the titular protagonist, out to rekindle his creative flame. Meanwhile, according to Variety, his Iron Man 2 costar Scarlett Johansson has signed on to play Molly, a restaurant manager “and sometimes love interest” of Favreau’s character.

Johansson and Favreau will be sharing the screen with Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.. That will make Chef the third occasion on which Favreau directs RDJ in a movie, in addition to the fourth time they’ll have acted together (after reprising their Marvel roles as Tony Stark and Happy Hogan in Iron Man 3).

Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau are reuniting for ‘Chef’

Rounding out the supporting cast for Chef are Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2) and Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire). Production is slated to begin in Los Angeles in July 2013, with Karen Gilchrist and Sergei Bespalov producing – while Aldamisa and Mark Manuel’s Kilburn Media provide the financing – and Favreau working from his original story and script.

The film’s character-driven storytelling should set the stage for Favreau and his talented cast to flex their acting/improvisation muscles – without having to worry about limitations that come with making a big-budget flick that’s weighed down by commercial interests (a la Iron Man 2) – and, hopefully, allow Favreau’s passion and imagination as a filmmaker to shine through more than on his last two movies.

Plus, afterwards, he may be more inclined to tackle another studio project, such as Disney’s Magic Kingdom movie. That amusement park-based flick sounds like it could (surprisingly) be something special, thanks in part to Pixar’s role in the film’s development process.

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We’ll keep you posted on Chef, and let you know when it secures a release date.

Source: Variety