The holidays are finally here, which means it's time to start marathoning Christmas movies! We've collected 10 fun facts about one of our all-time favorite Christmas films, Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Enjoy!
10. A Christmas Story Cameo
"Could you help me pick up some slack on those etch-a-sketches?" ... Peter Billingsley, who you remember as Ralphie in the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story, made a cameo as Ming the elf. This is just one of many Billingsley and Favreau collaborations.
9. Too Much Sugar - Too Much of a Good Thing
Will Ferrell really ate all that sugar that you saw him eating in the film! As he told About Entertainment: "That was tough. I ingested a lot of sugar in this movie and I didn't get a lot of sleep. I constantly stayed up. But anything for the movie, I'm there. If it takes eating a lot of maple syrup, then I will—if that's what the job calls for." So next time you're considering wanting a diet centered around sugar ... think again.
8. Old School Effects Instead of CGI
Favreau explained in the film's commentary track that he chose to employ “old techniques” instead of CGI whenever possible. For example, he used stop-motion animation at points in the film, and he chose to use forced perspective to make Buddy look like a giant among his elf peers. Favreau had two sets built for the North Pole Scenes—one larger scale for the actors playing elves, the other smaller to make Buddy and Santa look big.
7. Favreau Played Many Parts Throughout Elf
Favreau (Writer/Director/Actor) has often appeared in his films. You may have picked him out as the doctor in Elf, but did you know that Favreau also tapped in to his inner narwhal and provided the voices for some of the stop-animation critters who see Buddy off from the North Pole, as well as, the voice of the rabid raccoon that Buddy encounters?
6. Ferrell's Reaction to the Jack-in-the-Boxes was Authentic!
On of Buddy's jobs is serving as a toy tester and is subjected to popping open an endless stream of menacing jack-in-the-boxes. Did you know that the anxiety etched on Ferrell's face in these scenes is real? Rather than standard jack-in-the-boxes that would pop at the song's end, they were remote controlled by Favreau, who purposely manipulated their timing to toy with his star and get authentic reactions.
5. Jack-in-the-Box = Hyena
Talking about jack-in-the-boxes ... the ones in Elf make the same noise as the laughing hyenas at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.
4. Ferrell in Character in Manhattan
On the last day of filming Elf in New York city, Ferrell traveled around town in costume with the director and one camera man to look for mischief with random passersby. This turned into the cheerful montage of Buddy happily accepting flyers, getting his shoes shined, and leap frogging down cross-walks. In some cases, people were so startled to see Will Ferrell in costume walking around Central Park and the Lincoln Tunnel that several traffic accidents were reported.
3. Will Ferrell was an Actual Mall Santa at One Point
Before they made it big, Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan worked together as a mall Santa and Elf duo. Will Ferrell recalled once: "I have some experience playing Santa Claus…Chris Kattan was my elf at this outdoor mall in Pasadena for five weeks, passing out candy canes. It was hilarious because little kids could care less about the elf. They just come right to Santa Claus. So by the second weekend, Kattan had dropped the whole affectation he was doing and was like (Ferrell makes a face of bitter boredom), 'Santa's over there, kid.'"
2. Jim Carrey was Originally Proposed to Play Buddy
David Berenbaum's spec script first emerged in 1993, and initially it envisioned Jim Carrey to play the part of Buddy the Elf. However, it took another ten years to get the project in motion, and at that point, Will Ferrell ended up signed to star in the now classic film. Carrey went on to headline his own Christmas offerings such as—the live-action How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the CGI animated A Christmas Carol.
1. Not So Many Buttons on the Empire State Bldg. Elevator
So sad ... but there aren't actually that many buttons on the elevator at the Empire State Building! It's all lies!