Next gallery »Gollum, Gandalf and others return in brand new 'Hobbit' images
« Previous gallery'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' cast portraits
The comedic actor, best known prior to becoming a director for his roles in films like "PCU" and "Swingers" (which he also co-wrote), garnered some attention for his directorial debut "Made" in 2001, but the real surprise came when he managed to woo critics with both a big-budget, fantasy-inflected big studio comedy ("Elf") and, later, the family adventure film "Zathura." 2008's "Iron Man" made his mastery of the four-quadrant, crowd-pleasing style of filmmaking more abundantly clear than ever before, with Favreau also demonstrating a wittier, more sophisticated touch than contemporaries like, say, Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich. Though his subsequent efforts - 2010's "Iron Man 2" and 2011's "Cowboys & Aliens" - certainly have their share of detractors, it doesn't change the fact that the chubby stand-up comic from Queens has become one of the unlikeliest top-notch action directors in movie history.
- Chris Eggertsen