Will Ferrell has a long list of iconic movie characters, from Ricky Bobby in 2006’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to Ron Burgundy in 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Still, there’s one character that is near and dear to everyone’s heart: Buddy the Elf from the 2003 holiday movie Elf. Buddy taught us that “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” and that cheer could have spilled over into an Elf 2, but Ferrell recently opened up about why he was opposed to making a sequel. In an Oct. 28 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ferrell revealed why he turned down the possibility of an Elf sequel and $29 million for his involvement because he wasn’t really vibin’ with the film’s premise.
The actor got really real about how he felt about the idea of a second movie, saying he didn’t think he could lie when promoting a concept he didn’t think was good. “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,’” Ferrell said in the interview. “And I thought, ‘Can I actually say those words? I don’t think I can, so I guess I can’t do the movie.'”
Today, the beloved Christmas film is easily considered a must-watch during the holiday season. However, Ferrell further explained that he had doubts about the film’s success and thought, “Boy, this could be the end,” as he trotted around New York City in his “silly yellow tights.” But that thought was thrown out of the North Pole when initial test screenings for the film were successful among various test groups.
When Elf was released in theaters on Nov. 7, 2003, moviegoers fell in love with Buddy the Elf, who finds out he is not an elf but a human who has been adopted by Santa’s little helpers. Buddy decides to take matters into his own hands and leaves the North Pole on an adventure to New York City to find his biological father, Walter (James Caan). Upon arrival to the Big Apple, Buddy is just a little too jolly for his father, but as the film unfolds we see Buddy find his place with his human family.
It’s easy to put Ferrell in a box and call him a comedy actor, and he told THR he has no intentions of leaving the genre that made him so popular, but he still likes to dabble in dramatic roles as well. We’ve seen Ferrell wear the drama hat quite well in the 2006 film Stranger Than Fiction, and now he’s jumping back into the genre with his upcoming Apple TV+ show The Shrink Next Door, in which he’ll star opposite Paul Rudd. The show, set to drop on Nov. 12, is also produced by Ferrell. This is not the first time Ferrell has taken a seat behind the camera, his producer experience rolls over on to TV shows and movies like HBO’s Succession, Netflix’s Dead to Me, J. Lo’s Hustlers, and 2019’s Booksmart.
Ferrell is definitely a jack of all trades and believes comedy is a way for us to distract ourselves from “so much going on in the world, and sometimes it’s nice to turn your brain off,” he said. And while Ferrell might be able to shut his brain off with comic relief, I’m not too sure I’ll be able to stop thinking about the almost-Elf 2 that we will never see.