While Elf has gone down in history as one of the most influential and much-loved Christmas movies of all time, its creation was bogged down with issues. On top of cold conditions and script rewrites, the actors didn’t get on. And Buddy the Elf himself, Will Ferrell, was at the heart of the controversy.
A new report claims that Ferrell’s on-screen father, James Caan, could not abide the star’s unique brand of comedy. At the time, Ferrell was a major American star, having been a mainstay in Saturday Night Live up until that point.
But when Caan met him in person for the hilarious festive film, he couldn’t stand him. Caan told Ferrell to his face: “I don’t find you funny.”
He then went on to describe Ferrell in a nasty way to reporters and anyone else who would listen. He said of the Step Brothers funnyman: “He’s the dullest person I’ve ever met. But he will wear anything, any time, anywhere – as you can tell.”
Caan had a lot of disdain for the Elf movie as a whole. He apparently hated the title and mockingly called it “Elk” while on set. And, even though he was an Oscar-nominated star from The Godfather series, he admitted he was only involved with Elf for the money.
He reportedly said: “There is a huge difference between wanting to work and having to work. For this one, I am having to work because I need the money.”
Caan was also not the only person on set who “disliked” Ferrell, it has been claimed.
Caan previously revealed that Elf’s director, Jon Favreau, butted heads with Ferrell during the film’s production.
He said: “The director [Jon Favreau] and Will didn’t get along very well.” He then went on to reveal that Will “wanted to work on a sequel” but was deterred when the film’s contracts ensured Favreau would be making a comeback.
He said: “Will [Ferrell] wanted to do it, he didn’t want the director [Favreau], and he had it in his contract. It was one of those things.”
However, Ferrell has since laughed at the notion of taking on the role of Buddy the Elf again almost 20 years later.
Ferrell said of returning as the festive hero: “Absolutely not. I just think it would look slightly pathetic if I tried to squeeze back in the elf tights: Buddy the middle-aged elf.”
Despite the issues surrounding the film’s production, it went on to make a monolithic $225 million on a meagre $33 million budget.
It was also voted as Britain’s favourite Christmas movie just this week.
Watch Elf on NOW.