Jon Favreau Fondly Remembers Garry Shandling

Shandling stars as Ikki the porcupine in Disney's "The Jungle Book."

ByAngela Williams
April 14, 2016, 10:24 AM

— -- Garry Shandling fans will finally have the chance to check out the actor’s last film role with the premiere of “The Jungle Book” this weekend. Shandling stars as Ikki the porcupine in the highly anticipated Disney classic. Shandling unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack earlier this month. The film’s director, Jon Favreau, told ABC News that Shandling was a special person.

“He was a friend of not just me, but of so many people that I knew, especially filmmakers and comedians,” Favreau said. “And sadly he wasn't on screen as much as we all would have liked, because he was a genius. And every time he was on the screen he just never disappointed. I was able to pull him out to do 'Iron Man 2.' He did this. But it was always as a favor. He was never looking to work. You always had to drag him into it. But he was extremely active behind the scenes.”

PHOTO:Jon Favreau and Peter Travers at the ABC Headquarters in New York, April 7, 2016.
Jon Favreau and Peter Travers at the ABC Headquarters in New York, April 7, 2016.
David Fazekas/ABC News

Favreau continued: “He was a guy who was giving and would read your script, give you thoughtful notes, encouraging notes, watch a cut of your movie, come to a test screening. He was the first person that I would invite to the last few films I've done. He had a knack for knowing how to encourage and criticize without ever making you feel anything but empowered.”

Favreau, 49, told Peter Travers that Shandling called him up and asked to re-record his lines because he wanted to make sure his delivery was flawless.

“[Shandling] said, ‘I want another crack at it,’” Favreau remembered. “He's in a handful of scenes. I said, 'Garry, we've already edited everything. The footage is done.’ He says, ‘I'll make it fit within the mouth movements of the cut like when you do ADR, you do looping in a film.’ I said, ‘Sure come on in.' I didn't think there was much he could do. He already did a great job. And sure enough he ended up improving upon the humor. Me and the editor couldn't believe it."

Shandling was also able to see the finished footage of the film.

“And showing him something, when he was excited about something you felt like the smartest guy in the world, because he’s such a smart guy," said Favreau.

"The Jungle Book" hits theaters April 15. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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