Why Will Ferrell Turned Down ‘Elf’ Sequel
Will Ferrell revealed why he turned down the opportunity to make a sequel to his hit Christmas comedy classic, Elf.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga star revealed that he was previously pitched a sequel for the holiday comedy, which he initially wasn't sure would be so good for his career. He recalled that during the filming of the movie, he was running around New York City in his character Buddy's signature yellow tights, thinking, “Boy, this could be the end.”
The studio held test screenings of the film before its theatrical debut, and Ferrell's manager would update the actor on how they were going and which demographics were enjoying the film.
“He was like, ‘Well, the family one went great, but we could really get eviscerated in this next one. I’m looking at a bunch of what look like USC frat boys about to go in.' Then later I hear, no, that group actually liked it, too," Ferrell recalled.
Released in 2003, the movie ended up making $220 million at the box office. So, why didn't they make a follow-up?
As it turns out, a sequel to Elf was completely written, but Ferrell made the "simple" decision to not sign onto the project despite standing to make $29 million.
“I would have had to promote the movie from an honest place, which would’ve been, like, ‘Oh no, it’s not good. I just couldn’t turn down that much money.’ And I thought, ‘Can I actually say those words? I don’t think I can, so I guess I can’t do the movie,'” he explained, revealing that the plot of the sequel was too close to that of the first film.
In a September 2020 interview with Audacy, however, Ferrell's Elf co-star James Caan, who played Buddy's father in the film, claimed that the sequel didn't happen because Ferrell and director Jon Favreau had a disagreement.
"The director and Will didn't get along very well," Caan said. "Will wanted to do it, and he didn't want the director, and [Favreau] had it in his contract ... It was one of those things."
In December 2020, Ferrell and the majority of the main cast including Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Andy Richer, Amy Sedaris, Mary Steenburgen, Matt Walsh and Kyle Glass reunited for a virtual table read of the movie to support the Democratic Party of Georgia.