Behind the Scenes: The Making of the movie Elf

If you haven’t seen Elf, the movie starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel, stop what you’re doing and go watch it now.

Released twenty years ago its become a canonical Christmas comedy fav. A jovial seasonal treat up there with 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (another must watch).

If you have yet to watch Elf, go do it now. Seriously, we’ll wait.

All done? OK, great, let’s continue. Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human, who is raised with the elves at the North Pole.

When he discovers that he is not an elf, he travels to New York in search of his biological father, played brilliantly by James Caan.

The movie was a success from the moment it hit cinemas, grossing over $220 million worldwide from a production budget of $33 million.


Written by David Berenbaum and directed by Jon Favreau, the film was ten years in the making and is essentially about the relationship between fathers and sons in memory of David’s late father.

It has since gone on to become a Broadway musical and remains one of the best-loved Christmas films of modern times alongside the likes of Home Alone and Love Actually.

Here are a few things you may not know about the family favourite:

– Will Ferrell was not the original choice for Buddy the Elf. Back when the script was first being shopped around in the 90s, producers wanted Jim Carrey to play the goofy lead.

– The outdoor scenes shot in New York City feature real people so many of the reactions you see are genuine!

– In fact, several minor traffic accidents occurred when Will Ferrell walked through the Lincoln Tunnel in his costume, because people were so surprised and distracted to see a grown man wearing an elf outfit.


– Director Jon Favreau (of Friends fame!) plays Buddy’s doctor and voices almost all the stunt motion characters as well as providing the sound effects for the vicious raccoon!

– One of the security guards who escorts Buddy from the Empire State Building is played by Will’s brother!

– The cotton balls that Buddy eats at the doctor’s office were actually balls of undyed candy floss.

– Zooey Deschanel singing was not in the original script – Favreau added it when he learned she was a singer.

– In fact, the part of Buddy’s love interest was originally offered to Katie Holmes who passed on the role.

– Will Ferrell reportedly turned down $29 million to reprise his role for Elf 2 saying he felt it would look ‘slightly pathetic’ if he tried to squeeze into the tights again to play Buddy, the middle-aged elf.

Check out the video below for more facts on the movie…and check out your local cinema listings as it is often rolled out again each December.

…and if that wasn’t enough, watch Holiday Movies that Made Us on Netflix for the entire back story!

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