A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
I signed up for my Tesla Model S — the one I still drive — around the time we were filming the Iron Man movies. Elon Musk has been a friend of the Iron Man family from the beginning. He was somebody that Robert Downey Jr. and I talked with to help research the original film.
He even had a cameo in Iron Man 2, and he let us film at SpaceX — the Hammer Industry scenes were shot there. This was all before the Tesla Model S was on the road or the rocket program was fully online.
Elon is a fascinating guy. We met at a time when we were still figuring out how we fit into our respective industries. When he told me about the Model S, I thought it was very ambitious. He didn’t want to just make the best electric car. He set out to make the best car on the road, period. At the time, people in Hollywood were trying to embrace alternative-fuel cars. The Prius was ubiquitous, but because of its size and design, it didn’t fit the needs of everybody. The Model S fulfills the desire for a luxury vehicle that a lot of people in Hollywood want; it became people’s primary mode of transportation.
I placed an order for my Model S after I was taken for a test drive at the unveiling of the prototype. It was impressive even then. Elon makes cars that are fast but are also very safe and extremely well designed. I wasn’t in the market for an electric car when I got my Tesla. I’m so glad that I made the leap.
Favreau is director of Disney’s The Jungle Book and executive producer of MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles.