Elf 2: James Caan Explains Why It Didn't Happen

The beloved Christmas comedy Elf was a gigantic success at the box office and it remains a hit around the holidays. But a sequel was never made. Actor James Caan, who starred in the film as the father of Will Ferrell’s Buddy the elf has now explained why that may be.

Caan said on Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan (via TooFab) that plans were in place for a sequel, but it fell apart due in part to a reported clash between Ferrell and director Jon Favreau.

“We were gonna do it. And I thought, ‘Oh my god, I finally got a franchise movie, I can make some money,'” Caan explained. “The director and Will didn’t get along very well. Will wanted to do it … and he didn’t want that director, and he had it in his contract. It was one of those things. It’s too bad.”

Caan also elaborated about how he became attached to the movie in the first place. He is better known for his more serious roles in The Godfather and Misery, and he was initially skeptical when Ferrell called him about joining Elf. He bluntly said to Ferrell, “I am not doing a picture called Elf.”

However, Caan came around after the producers agreed to change the name on his scripts to Elk instead of Elf. In the end, Caan said it was great fun working on Elf, and with Ferrell in particular.

Favreau, who would go on to direct Iron Man and kick off the MCU in 2008, was not originally attached to direct Elf, and he didn’t like the sound of it from the start. For the film’s 10th anniversary in 2013, Favreau told Rolling Stone that he “wasn’t particularly interested” in the movie after reading the script, which was “much darker” than what was eventually shot.

After he re-wrote the script, Elf became a PG movie where it was previously envisioned as a PG-13 film. “He was a darker character in the script I had read originally. The character became a bit more innocent, and the world became more of a pastiche of the Rankin/Bass films. The studio [New Line] read it and agreed to make it, and that’s when I was brought on to direct,” Favreau said.

Elf was Ferrell’s first solo movie after leaving Saturday Night Live. The movie also starred Zooey Deschanel, Edward Asner, Peter Dinklage, Bob Newhart, and Mary Steenburgen.

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