Will Ferrell has been in a lot of funny movies. From Stepbrothers to Anchorman, he’s starred in a ton of beloved comedies. Elf is one of the most treasured of all. Ferrell thought it was the end of his career, but he was very mistaken.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian recalled his hesitation about the movie. He thought the silly Christmas flick would be the end of it all once he saw himself wearing his iconic yellow tights and running through the streets of New York City.
“Boy, this could be the end.”
In hindsight, it’s hard to imagine such a classic almost not even happening. Elf raked in $220 million at the box office and helped solidify Ferrell as a legitimate draw. Critics raved about the film and fans can still watch it 365 days a year. Will’s intuition was way off.
Ferrell said his manager kept close tabs on test screenings for the actor. One by one, the results would come in. With each one, his confidence in the movie grew. He remembers being very anxious about the reaction of the frat boy crowd.
“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.”
Will Ferrell himself was once a bona fide USC frat boy. Luckily, his gut feelings were off the mark. After Elf came Anchorman, then Talladega Nights. Suddenly, he was the star of three movies that grossed a combined $474 million.
Ferrell balked at a big-money opportunity to reprise his role as Buddy in an Elf sequel. He most recently starred alongside Paul Rudd in The Shrink Next Door. That project debuts on Apple TV+ on November 12.
What would Christmas be like without Elf? Share your favorite scenes in the comments!