Jon Favreau says films were a form of ''escapism'' for him growing up.

The director-and-actor used to immerse himself in Hollywood movies as a child when his family life was crumbling around him, but his passion for the industry has stayed with him ever since.

He explained: ''My parents split up when I was seven, and by the time I was eleven my mother had passed away from leukaemia. If you stack up those experiences, those were the things that I spent the rest of my life contending with, and movies became an escapism from that.''

Jon, 47, has had a string of successful movies roles, including 'The Break-Up', and directorial gigs, such as 'Iron Man', but still feels hurt by the poor reception his 2011 sci-fi western 'Cowboys & Aliens' received.

He explained to The Times newspaper: ''It was the first time that critics didn't love something that I did. And that hurt. I didn't want to yell at anybody. I just felt sad, really.''

The star has gone all out for his new low-budget comedy, 'Chef', which sees him play a disillusioned cook, who regains his passion by manning a taco truck across America and seduces Scarlett Johansson's alter-ego along the way.

Jon undertook an intensive French culinary training course and worked in the high-pressure kitchens of US chef Roy Choi in order to get into character, but he admits he has never charmed his wife of 14 years, Joya Tillem, with his own cooking.