Will Ferrell: I Turned Down ‘Elf’ Sequel—and a $29 Million Paycheck
SON OF A NUTCRACKER!
Will Ferrell has said that he declined to return to the yellow tights for a planned sequel to hit Christmas movie Elf, despite a payout that would’ve made anybody exclaim, “Son of a nutcracker!” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor explained that a check for $29 million was waved under his nose to make Elf 2. But, he said, he walked away because the sequel had a premise that was uncomfortably similar to the first movie. “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,’” Ferrell said. “And I thought, ‘Can I actually say those words? I don’t think I can, so I guess I can’t do the movie.’”
The Jon Favreau-directed classic became Ferrell’s arguable breakout role, a beloved slam dunk that made $220 million at the box office. In 2020, James Caan, who played Buddy’s father, said in a radio interview that a sequel never came to pass because of Ferrell and Favreau’s allegedly strained relationship. “We were gonna do it,” Caan said. “... Will wanted to do it, and he didn’t want the director, and [Favreau] had it in his contract. It was one of those things.”