Where Elf cast is now – double divorce, quitting Hollywood and tragic car crash

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Buddy the Elf passed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops and right into New York City to find his real family back in 2003.

The cult Christmas classic raked in more than $200million worldwide and has since led to a hit Broadway musical as it cements its place as one of the most beloved festive Hollywood movies of all time.

Elf was released on November 7 in the US before it hit the UK just one week later and it remains a Christmas classic in many homes.

Now, 18 years later, Elf is still one of the nations most beloved holiday hits, having featured a host of big-name stars who went on to achieve enormous success.

Daily Star has taken a sneak peek at what the cast has been up to since the film’s release

Will Ferrell

Will brought this iconic Christmas movie to life with his hilarious portrayal of Buddy the Elf.

Since appearing in the hit holiday favourite, the actor has continued to act and score notable roles in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, and Step Brothers.

In 2018, Will was taken to hospital after an SUV he was riding in flipped during a tragic freeway collision. Four people were injured in the two-car wreck.

According to the accident report, Ferrell’s vehicle was struck when another car veered into its lane. His SUV then struck the centre divider median and flipped over.

The actor was dressed as his legendary Anchorman character Ron Burgundy at the time of the crash.

Will, now 54, recently turned down a $29million offer to reprise his role as Buddy the Elf, claiming the sequel’s script was so bad he couldn’t do it.

He said: “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,’ I thought, ‘Can I actually say those words? I don’t think I can, so I guess I can’t do the movie.’”

Daniel Tay

Daniel was only 12 when the film was released and he looks completely different these days.

Tay's acting debut was at the age of 11 in Elf as Buddy’s half-brother Michael Hobbs.

The same year, he appeared in American Splendor as Young Harvey Pekar.

His other acting roles include Artie Lange's Beer League as Max and Brooklyn Rules as Young Bobby.

Tay was also the voice of the character Doogal. He has done voice work for video games by Rockstar Games, voicing Pedro De La Hoya in Bully and Bill Blue in Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.

Despite his early-career success as an actor, the now 29-year-old star shocked fans by quitting Hollywood and abandoning his acting career.

He went onto graduate from Yale University to gain a BA degree in Economics.

He now works for a company which tutors students as they prepare to take university entrance exams.

Zooey Deschanel

At the time Elf debuted, Zooey was a relatively new actress in Hollywood with a few films under her belt including All the Real Girls and Almost Famous.

In 2018, Deschanel said that she was the second choice for the role and ultimately starred in the movie as Jovie when the film's first choice dropped out.

Post-Elf, the actress starred in several major movies including The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 500 Days of Summer, and Trolls.

In 2006, she formed a two-person indie band with M. Ward called She and Him.

The pair has released multiple studio albums together.

Deschanel landed her most notable role as Jessica Day on the Fox show New Girl in 2011. The series ended in 2018 after seven seasons.

In December 2009, Deschanel married musician Ben Gibbard, lead vocalist for Death Cab for Cutie, leading to the star’s first divorce in 2012.

The now 41-year-old actress married film producer Jacob Pechenik in 2015 and the pair have two children together. Deschanel sadly found herself facing a second divorce in 2020.

Deschanel started dating Property Brothers star Jonathan Scott after her announcement of the separation from Pechenik.

Mary Steenburgen

Married to screen star Ted Danson, Mary played Emily Hobbs, the loveable wife of Buddy’s dad.

Since appearing in the movie, Mary lent her voice to the animated comedy Bless the Harts and appeared in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

The Oscar-winning actress has also had recurring roles in TV, including spots on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Orange is the New Black and Last Man on Earth and recently returned to the big screen in Book Club.

Steenburgen has also had a chance to reunite with Will Ferrell in the 2008 comedy Step Brothers, returning in the role of lovable stepmom.

The actress is a friend of former senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and supported Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

She is also involved with various groups ranging from human rights to environmental causes.

Peter Dinklage

Peter made an impact in Elf as the best-selling children’s author Miles Finch who Buddy unfortunately mistakes for an “angry elf” in a boardroom scene.

After Elf, Dinklage went on to appear in several popular movies, including Death at a Funeral, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

The actor has since appeared in Avengers: Infinity War and is of course best known today for his role as Tyrion Lannister in the wildly successful HBO series Game of Thrones.

His success with the fantasy drama and other projects since Elf has seen the actor, who has a common form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia, win 12 awards from 58 nominations including winning four Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award.

The now 52-year-old star is in the midst of producing and starring in two upcoming films: The Dwarf and The Thicket.

Dinklage is happily married to his theatre director wife of 16 years, Erica Schmidt, a theatre director and the pair have two children together.

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