15 things you never knew about Will Ferrell's Elf
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15 things you never knew about Will Ferrell's Elf

ON NOVEMBER 7TH, 2003, Will Ferrell introduced cinemagoers to a Christmas movie with a difference.

Directed by John Favreau, Elf offered up a spirited, if extremely juvenile, festive comedy that was memorable for delivering laughs aplenty for views young and old.

Now, 15 years on from its US release, here are 15 things you never knew about this super-sweet festive treat.

15. Jim Carrey was originally set to star

When David Berenbaum’s script first emerged in 1993, Carrey, who was a rising star and comedian at the time, was attached to star.

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By the time the project got up and running, 10 years later, Ferrell had replaced him.

14. Will Ferrell previously worked as a Santa

Back when Ferrell was a budding comedian in the LA-based improv group The Groundlings, he also worked as a Santa Claus for an outdoor shopping centre.

13. Buddy was originally bullied

Berenbaum’s script originally saw Buddy head off in search of his biological father after suffering taunts at the hands of his smaller elf school friends.

John Favreau decided to omit these elements when he took on the project as he wanted them to be viewed as fundamentally kind.

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12. It’s a family affair

Ferrell’s brother Patrick, enjoys a small role as a mall security guest.

11. Will Ferrell ate way too much sugar

Ferrell complained of health problems as a direct result of the sugar he ate throughout filming. He suffered headaches and struggled to sleep.

10. Some of the scenes were in a haunted location.

The production set up shop in an abandoned mental hospital in Vancouver, where sets including the interior of Walter’s Central Park apartment and Gimbels’ toy department, were constructed.

9. A Sweet Deal

The cotton wool balls Buddy keeps eating when he visits the doctors weren’t actual cotton – they were candy floss balls that hadn’t been dyed pink yet.

8. The Throne of Lies

The scene in which Buddy meets and unmasks a mall Santa before a violent tussle ensues was a tricky one.

The elaborate nature of the sets Christmas décor meant it had to be completed in one take.

7. Will Ferrell caused traffic chaos

During filming in the Lincoln tunnel, a fully-costumed Will Ferrell causes traffic chaos and a few minor accidents when he walked through the location in character.

6. There's an Elf hockey deleted scene 

One scene that ended up on the cutting room floor saw Buddy playing hockey with his elf friends. His significant size advantage soon sees things take a violent and amusing tone.

5. That epic burp was real

Buddy’s infamous 12-second burp in the film might seem like the result of computer trickery but it was actually very real.

Ferrell wasn’t the architect though; that honour went to voice actor Maurice LaMarche who voiced Brain in Pinky and the Brain. It wasn’t technically a burp though but more a growl.

4. Will Ferrell broke James Caan

James Caan, who plays Buddy’s biological father, was hired because of his stern demeanour, which played off nicely against Ferrell.

Even so, The Godfather actor struggled to stay composed during one scene, where Buddy reacts to getting a blood test.

He can actually be seen turning away so the camera doesn’t pick up on the fact he’s laughing.

3. Two babies were fired

Two blonde boys were cast as child versions of Buddy but struggled with the demands of the role and often burst into tears.

Favreau opted to replace them with smiling triplet of girls who proved far more effective in the role.

2. The Lift Scene Is A Lie

The sequence in which Buddy arrives at the Empire State building and proceeds to press all of the buttons in the lift is a lie.

The real-life lift doesn’t have half as many buttons.

1. Will Ferrell turned down a lot of money to do a sequel

Ferrell has been offered as much as $29 million to reprise the role of Buddy but has always rejected the notion.

"I just think it would look slightly pathetic if I tried to squeeze back in the elf tights: Buddy the middle-aged elf."