It’s December 1st, which means it’s time to check off your holiday to-do list, which, of course, starts with watching hands-down one of the best Christmas movies of all time, Elf (surely followed by singing loud for all to hear). While Elf has become a staple of Christmastime, there’s a lot that went into making this film back in 2003 that’ll make you appreciate it’s perfection even more.
Will Ferrell turned down $29 million to do a sequel.
Will Ferrell suffered from headaches throughout filming because of all the sugar he had to consume.
Ming Ming, the elf briefly seen at the beginning of the film, is played by Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story.
Director Jon Favreau did more than direct. He appeared as Buddy’s doctor, voiced the narwhal, and did the crayon drawing Buddy made in the card for his dad.
When the screenplay first came out in 1993, Jim Carrey was attached to star.
The scene where Buddy eats different candies and pastries with spaghetti had to be shot twice because Ferrell vomited the first go around.
The scene when the fake Santa chases Buddy through the department store had to be shot in one take because the set was too hard to rebuild.
Peter Dinkelage played Miles Finch, the big-wig executive Buddy is attacked by after he continuously calls him an “angry elf.”
Before his career took off, Will Ferrell actually was a mall Santa and Chris Katan was his elf.
This was Will Ferrell’s first big leading role after SNL.
Jon Favreau used forced perspective instead of CGI for most of the movie to make Buddy and Santa seem larger than the elves.
Buddy’s reaction to the jack-in-the-box popping open is real. Favereau had the box on a remote control so Ferrell wouldn’t know when the toy would pop open.
There were a few minor traffic accidents when the people of New York spotted Will Ferrell running arond the city in his elf costume.
The man Buddy mistakes for Santa in New York was a real person who didn’t know he was being filmed at the time.
Gimbels, Walter’s apartment, and the jail sets were all built in an abandoned mental hospital in Vancouver, where Freddy vs. Jason was also filmed.
James Caan didn’t know Buddy was going to scream when he was pricked in the doctors office, and you can see his attempt to shield his laughter.
Macy’s was going to allow the film to use their stores and even the iconic parade but they required the revelation that Santa was a fake to be cut.
Watch Elf on-demand on Freeform, or check out when it’s airing live here.