‘Elf’: Jim Carrey Was Initially Supposed to Play Buddy Over Will Ferrell Until This Happened

Elf has grown to be a super popular holiday film, joining flicks such as Home Alone and The Grinch in the pantheon of top Christmas movies. It stars Will Ferrell as Buddy — a man who grew up in the North Pole thinking he was an elf but eventually learns of his real identity and leaves New York to find his family. But the film almost looked a lot different.

Even though Ferrell arguably seems perfect for the role, he was not the first pick. As the story goes, Jim Carrey was initially wanted for the part, but the deal never materialized.

Jim Carrey on the red carpet
Jim Carrey on the red carpet at an event in February 2020 in Westwood, California | Rich Fury/WireImage

Jim Carrey could have been Buddy in ‘Elf,’ but it took too long to come out

According to E! News, the movie script was created in 1993 with the hope that the lead role would go to Carrey — who was about to make waves for staples such as the Ace Ventura movies, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber. But it unfortunately never happened.

The FW reports that Elf got stuck in “development hell” for 10 years before production began. But by that time, Carrey had reportedly moved on to other things.

With that, the part wound up going to Ferrell, who had been picking up more and more movie roles since rising to prominence on Saturday Night Live in the late ’90s.

Elf released in November 2003 to massive success, garnering positive reviews from critics, drawing more than $220 million at the global box office, and seemingly earning Ferrell a hefty paycheck.

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Meanwhile, Jim Carrey went on to star in his own holiday film

It doesn’t appear that Carrey has ever commented on Elf or his almost role in it. But he went on to land his own holiday movie in 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a live-action spin on the iconic Dr. Seuss book.

Of course, this movie wasn’t as big of a hit with critics, earning low to mixed reviews. But it was a box office success, pulling in more than $340 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo.

RELATED: Which Film Did Better: Jim Carrey’s ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ or the 2018 Animated Release of ‘The Grinch?’

Will there be an ‘Elf 2’?

In the years since the release of the movie, there have been talks and demand for an Elf sequel, but Ferrell has shut the possibility down.

“I just think it would look slightly pathetic if I tried to squeeze back in the elf tights: Buddy the middle-aged elf,” he told USA TODAY in 2013.

But who knows, maybe someone else will be up for the job? We’ll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, read more of our Christmas coverage below.

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