Elf: The things you never knew

Will Ferrell as Buddy in Elf.
Will Ferrell as Buddy in Elf. Contributed

WATCHING Elf may be your yearly Christmas tradition, but there are some surprising facts most of us don't know about the film.

It's hard to imagine anyone but Will Ferrell playing the part of Buddy - but producers didn't agree, and originally cast a different A-list actor for the role.

Here are 10 things from The Sun that you probably didn't know about the 2003 movie.


Ferrell genuinely consumed all the sugar-packed foods Buddy scoffs in Elf - and suffered from terrible headaches and sugar highs as a result.

He joked: "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."


Jim Carrey was originally meant to play Buddy - but turned the down the role in favour of other opportunities.

The script for Elf had been floating around Hollywood for 10 long years before it finally went into production - and Carrey was the biggest comedy star in the US in 1993.

But he'd already starred in A Christmas Carol and The Grinch That Stole Christmas by the time the 21st century rolled around, and lost interest in the role.

Jim Carrey turned down the lead in the 2003 film Elf. In the same year he appeared in Bruce Almighty.
Jim Carrey turned down the lead in the 2003 film Elf. In the same year he appeared in Bruce Almighty.


Sorry kids, we've all been lied to. Buddy's infamous 12-second burp was voiced by someone else.

The enormous uncredited belch, which he famously let out at the dinner table, belongs to actor Maurice LaMarche.

Never heard of him? He's the same guy who voiced Brain in Pinky And The Brain.


Buddy's hilariously shocked reactions to the jack-in-the-boxes, while working in the elf factory, were all genuine.

Director Jon Favreau was controlling them offstage via remote control.


Buddy famously winds up working in a department store at Christmas time in the movie - and Ferrell can relate.

He once had a five-week job dressing up as Santa Claus and giving out candy canes at a local shopping mall before he hit the big time.

Saturday Night Live cast member Chris Katten played his elf.


Elf producers had to fire two babies during filming.

A pair of twin boys wouldn't stop crying when they were meant to be smiling, crawling and generally being adorable.

They were swiftly replaced by happy triplet girls.


Director Jon Favreau didn't want to use CGI to make Buddy seem huge in comparison to Santa's other helpers. He wanted the set to be as natural as possible.

So how did they do it?

It's called forced perspective and it's the same big budget technique used for the hobbits in Lord Of The Rings.

Ferrell was often filmed on a raised platform while the other elves were standing on lower ground.

This photo might help explain the technique:

See how Ferrell is standing on a raised platform to make the others look smaller? Picture: New Line Cinema
See how Ferrell is standing on a raised platform to make the others look smaller? Picture: New Line Cinema


The cotton wool balls Buddy eats in the doctors' office were actually candy floss which hadn't been dyed pink yet. Clever right?


The sweet scene where Buddy presses every button in the lift of the Empire State building, much to the frustration of his companion, is one of the film's most iconic.

But we're afraid none of the skyscraper's many lifts actually have that many buttons. Sorry guys.


This article was originally published onThe Sun and is reproduced here with permission.

Topics:  christmas christmas movies movies will ferrell

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