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Will Ferrell turned down a huge fee to make Elf 2 as film turns 20 years old

Will Ferrell turned down a huge fee to make Elf 2 as film turns 20 years old

Elf 2 could have been made a reality

If you don't watch Will Ferrell's Elf at least once this Christmas, seriously, do you even like Christmas?

Even if you're not a fan of Buddy - the human that lives among elves - there are millions who would be itching for a sequel to the film, which turns 20 today following its release on 7 November, 2003.

The movie follows Buddy (Will Ferrell), who is raised by elves at the North Pole.

After discovering that he is not actually an elf, he travels to New York in search for his biological father, played by the late James Caan.

The star-studded line up also includes Zooey Deschanel (Jovi), Bob Newhart (Papa Elf), Mary Steenburgen (Emily) and Peter Dinklage (Miles Finch), as director Jon Favreau also plays Dr. Leonardo.

Elf was a smash hit and grossed a worldwide total of $220 million (£178.9 million) at the box office, against a lesser production budget of $33 million (£26.8 million).

The first film follows Buddy (Will Ferrell), who is raised by elves at the North Pole.
Warner Bros.

But sadly, it seems not even a huge cheque could convince main character Ferrell to revive his iconic role for a sequel.

He's obviously presented himself in numerous different roles since then, but many Christmas lovers will struggle to ever see him as anything but the excitable Buddy who just wants to spend his time asking people their favourite colour.

The film is so loved that many fans have called for a sequel over the years, and you might be either delighted or devastated to hear that one was actually written - just never made.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2021, Ferrell admitted that he never expected Elf to be the hit that it was.

He recalled thinking, while dressed in his yellow tights, 'this could be the end'.

Remembering calls with his manager about test screenings, the actor said: "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.”

Our faces when we found out there could have been another Elf.
Warner Bros.

The success of the film inspired the idea for a sequel, but Ferrell explained that he wouldn't have been able to promote a follow-up without being honest about why he'd taken the job - which was, of course, a giant chunk of money.

Had Ferrell accepted the opportunity to return as Buddy, he would have walked away with a cheque for $29 million (£23.6m).

I know a lot of people who would put on an adult-sized elf outfit for a lot less, but Ferrell explained: "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.'

"And I thought, 'Can I actually say those words? I don't think I can, so I guess I can't do the movie.'"

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros. / Karwai Tang via Getty

Topics: Celebrity, Christmas, TV and Film, Will Ferrell, Elf