Elf is without a doubt one of the most popular Christmas films in the world.
The innocent and childlike Buddy (Will Ferrell) works in Santa’s toy workshop at the North Pole, but never questions why he is significantly larger than the other elves and why they lack their magical building powers.
Hence, it is a great shock to be told that he is actually human. He travels to New York to track down his real father and has the task of removing him from the naughty ruse.
Most of us couldn’t think of anyone but Anchorman star Will to play the role, the “Santa!” screams and falls in love with Zooey Deschanels Jovie.
But Will wasn’t the original choice to play Buddy – another comedic actor was in the running first.
So who was that? Along with some other bizarre facts about Elf, let’s find out.
Will Ferrell turned down Â£ 21 million for a sequel amid alleged “feud”
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Will once announced that he had turned down a staggering Â£ 21 million to direct a second Elf film.
He told The Guardian, “I killed the idea of ââa sequel – $ 29 million seems like a lot of money for a man to wear tights, but that’s what the market will wear.”
So what happened According to actor James Caan, who played Buddy’s father Walter Hobbs, there will never be a second film due to an alleged disagreement between Will and director Jon Favreau.
“We wanted to do it and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I finally got a franchise movie. I can make some money and let my kids do what they want,'” James recently told The Fan in Cleveland .
âThe director and Will didn’t get along very well. Will wanted to do it, and he didn’t want the director, and he had it in his contract.
In 2016, Jon said that follow-up was a “big gamble”.
âIf I don’t do anything, I would be very happy with what it is. Once you take it over and try to add something, you always run the risk of deviating from the original, âhe told Yahoo! Movies.
“I have a huge passion for this film, and you don’t want to do anything to spoil the legacy of it.”
However, 54-year-old Will has claimed it was because he thought he was too old to put the tights back on.
He told The Guardian, “I just think it would look a little pathetic if I tried to pull my elven tights off: Buddy, the middle-aged elf.”
Jim Carrey was supposed to play buddy
AFP via Getty Images)
In David Berenbaum’s original screenplay for Elf, written in 1993, Jim Carrey committed to play Buddy.
But Elf didn’t come out until 2003 when the makers struggled with various problems to get the green light. At this point, Jim got tired of waiting and moved on.
Will was brought in instead and did an excellent job while Jim is known for playing a character who is the complete opposite of Buddy.
Unrecognizable in a green fur suit and prostheses, he played the title role in the festive 2000 hit How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Filmed in an abandoned mental hospital
Several of the scenes in Elf were filmed on what used to be a mental hospital before it fell into disrepair.
Riverview Hospital has since grown into a popular television set that has also been used to shoot horror films such as Final Destination and Jennifer’s Body.
In Elf, Walter’s apartment in Central Park West, Gimbels’ toy department and the prison cell are shot dead.
“It was a closed mental institution,” explained production designer Rusty Smith.
âWe had to repurpose this draconian mental hospital. It worked great for the police station, but it’s one of the scariest places I’ve ever been in my life. “
Will Ferrell used to be Santa Claus?
Unsurprisingly, for an elf, Buddy is filled to the brim with the Christmas spirit.
And for Will, who was used to the festive mood of his work engagements, this might not be a big deal.
Before he became a big comedy star, Will worked as Santa Claus in a mall in the United States – and his co-star Chris Kattan on A Night at the Roxbury was his eleven.
Will remembered Spliced ââWire: “I have some experience as Santa Claus … Chris Kattan was my elf at this outdoor mall in Pasadena for five weeks, handing out candy canes.
âIt was hilarious because little kids couldn’t take care of the elf. You just come straight to Santa Claus.
“So by the second weekend, Kattan had given up all of his affectation and thought (Ferrell looks bitterly bored), ‘Santa is over there, boy.'”
A giant Christmas movie star makes a cameo
hbcstumin / Youtube)
We all know Peter Billingsley from his role as the adorable boy Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
But every year viewers are shocked to find that he is also in Elf, playing the uncredited role of Ming Ming, the Elf.
Peter had worked with Elf director Jon as a producer on the television series Dinner for Five.
Because of this, he could personally ask Jon for a small role in Elf.
Jon gave Peter the role of Ming Ming, who works in Santa’s workshop and may panic when he discovered that Buddy didn’t make enough toys and won’t hit his target.
This important scene is what triggers Buddy to find out that he’s not an elf after all.
The film made Will Ferrell sick
Buddy’s penchant for maple syrup and candy had a terrible side effect on actor Will, who suffered excruciating headaches and insomnia as a result.
“That was tough. I ate a lot of sugar and didn’t sleep much in this movie,” he told The Sun.
“I stayed up all the time. But I’m always there for the movie. If you have to eat a lot of maple syrup, I’ll do it – if the job demands it.”
The original baby buddies were fired
Two baby actors were originally hired to play the younger version of Buddy in a flashback.
Director Jon cast two twin boys with long blonde locks, and they definitely looked like that.
However, instead of smiling and crawling like they should, the guys just kept crying.
Jon eventually gave up and the children were released.
He then cast triplets in their place – three girls with brown hair, and they did a much better job.
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