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Favreau: Technology has transformed indie film landscape

Iron Man director says the Web changed the course of his upcoming movie and has made it easier for good filmmakers to get noticed.

If you ever feel your comments in online forums are nothing but a droplet in the vast Sea of the Web, take heart. They may change the course of the next Hollywood blockbuster.

Actor, writer, and director Jon Favreau gave a shout-out to our friend the Internet Saturday, saying fans had a direct impact on his upcoming movie with their posts online. Favreau held a panel discussion to support Iron Man, a live-action movie based on the Marvel superhero, at the WonderCon comic book convention held in San Francisco over the weekend. When he wanted to cast Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role, he said, his producers were reluctant. But overwhelming support for Downey online helped Favreau convince them to take a gamble on the troubled actor.

Favreau didn't say what sites he frequents, but he said he often pores over fan forums and rumor sites to see what people are talking about--and what they want to see in a movie. When one attendee asked about crossover characters appearing in both The Hulk and Iron Man, Favreau played coy, saying he wants to keep some things a surprise, but he said that some people writing about the movie online already have the whole story figured out. Of course, he was quick to note that others are completely off in their predictions of the direction the film will take.

Favreau also had encouraging words for wannabe directors. Toward the end of the panel discussion, another attendee asked if he had any advice for aspiring filmmakers, and Favreau said technology has transformed the landscape of independent film. "Now you can get a digital video camera and shoot high-quality footage, a Macintosh laptop to put it all together, and then use the Internet to distribute it yourself online," he said. "If what you do is good, you will get noticed."

Now to get started on my live-action version of The Sandman.