It stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Ed Asner, and Bob Newhart. He is best known for writing the 2003 Will Ferrell Christmas comedy classic, "Elf". Santaland took weeks to make but minutes to destroy. We know now that Elf was a massive success, and it's become a welcome addition to the Christmas canon — just like Favreau and Berenbaum wanted. Directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum, the film tells the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell), an orphan who is adopted and raised by elves at the North Pole. Elves thrive on the four main food groups (candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup, of course), but one of the dumb things we all ignored in Elf was that Buddy, as a human, would probably be very ill, if not dead, on this diet. New Line executives worried that the Old School audience wouldn't want to see an earnest family Christmas movie. And as it turns out, Elf was his second screenplay — the first, Christmas in New Jersey, was a Christmas rom-com. When David Berenbaum’s script first emerged in 1993, Carrey, who was a rising star and comedian at the time, was attached to star. But he took it all in stride. Fortunately, even New Line had to admit that its version didn't work, and the ending was restored. Ferrell admitted to Blackfilm, "Yeah, that was tough. And yes, that really is Ferrell singing. This newfound star status should've been good news for Elf. He is best known for writing the 2003 Will Ferrell Christmas comedy classic, "Elf". David Berenbaum is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. When screenwriter David Berenbaum wrote Elf back in 1993 he had another comedian in mind – Jim Carrey. I had never been involved with it." He explained that he didn't want to face criticism and accusations of money-grabbing if it didn't turn out as well as the first one, adding, "I didn't want to wander into an area that could erase all the good work I've done.". Casting him as the lead in a family Christmas movie was a risk, but Ferrell saw doing something different as a great opportunity. Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. Mary Steenburgen, who played Buddy's stepmother, had to eat a bite of syrup-covered spaghetti and pretend to like it for Buddy's sake. It's this spirit that gave Elf its candy cane-sweet center. For example, those cotton balls the character eats in the doctor's office were made from cotton candy. He is best known for writing the 2003 Will Ferrell Christmas comedy classic, "Elf". Required fields are marked *. Carrey was even attached to the movie – this pre-Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Ferrell even joked (hopefully) that they couldn't afford fake gum for that scene outside the subway station. ... Hanukkah is great ... but there's kind of nothing like rushing down on Christmas morning and opening up presents," he told Philadelphia City Paper in 2013. One Elf element Deschanel isn't a fan of is her character's blonde hair. With a cast of backups, a relatively small budget, and a plot no one in Hollywood seemed to fully understand, Elf looked like it had about as much chance of succeeding as a grown human who thinks he's an elf searching for his father in New York City. He told Blackfilm in 2003, "The appeal of it was to be able to shoot a film that would be funny but also heartfelt and be a different type of thing for me to do ... something that a family audience would see. And in that, they succeeded. Suddenly, Ferrell was famous, specifically for playing a beer-guzzling, streaking, ribbon-dancing, ring-of-fire-jumping frat man. Edward Chiodo told Art of the Title. Favreau recruited the Chiodo brothers to film the sequences, whose resume included effects for the Gremlins movies and sequences in The Simpsons. Even comedian Chris Farley was suggested before Ferrell. But Will would bust his balls a lot. He also wrote "The Haunted Mansion" for Disney, based off the famous theme park ride; the film starred Eddie Murphy. "I'll see pictures online of people saying, 'Hey I'm introducing my son or my daughter to this movie for the first time.' By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. On your next Elf rewatch, take a second to pause and admire the scale Lego model of the New York skyline that Buddy builds for the Gimbels Santaland. On top of that, in 2020, James Caan shed more light on why, unlike Santa's sleigh, Elf 2 never made it off the ground. As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, future Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum loved Christmas — … Ferrell later told Rotten Tomatoes that it was when he saw the original ending at the LA premiere that he knew the movie was special. In fact, it was recognized as such by Fandango users in 2017. As producer Cale Boyter told Netflix, "Legally, we thought we had made a deal, and everything was cool." Both Berenbaum and director Jon Favreau were inspired by the studio's colorful, quirky Christmas movies. "We shot right up until we destroy the place," Lange told ABC News. 2003-11-16 04:00:00 PDT Los Angeles-- In the den of his Los Angeles apartment, screenplay writer David Berenbaum is surrounded by the stuff his … "He said he wasn't a singer," Deschanel said, adding, "I should've known he'd be secretly good!" "It hits hardest at Christmastime when it's 105 degrees out here," Berenbaum told Variety in 2018. They got started, but the schedule was thrown out the window when New Line arranged a preview screening before the sequences were ready. More at IMDbPro »< Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family David Berenbaum is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Speaking of Gimbels, although Favreau chose the department store for its ties to another Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street, it had gone out of business by 2003. Buddy used his elf training to construct it overnight, but it took the production team two weeks. But a good way into production, the New Line legal department panicked. Buddy's biological father, Walter, is the workaholic, stone-faced foil to his eternally peppy personality. The script saw significant changes before it … "I was really lucky that my job in the film was to try to drive him crazy, and I would," Ferrell explained to Blackfilm. Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau, written by David Berenbaum, and starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Bob Newhart and Ed Asner. But she told Variety that she was the backup choice to play the part, stepping in when the first-choice actress dropped out. David Berenbaum is an American screenwriter whose credits include the films Elf, The Haunted Mansion, Zoom, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Strange Magic. "All of us were a little scared of James Caan," producer Jon Berg admitted to Netflix. As Favreau explained, "If I made the world that [Buddy] was from as though he grew up as an elf in ... one of those Rankin/Bass Christmas specials I grew up with, then everything fell into place tonally.". Elf (Nov 14, 2010 - Jan 02, 2011) Based upon the New Line Cinema Film written by David Berenbaum; MusicalComedyOriginal. It even made him cry. It might not seem like the most obvious choice, but Will Ferrell was never the actor intended to play Buddy in Elf. Edward Chiodo credits animator Teresa Drilling with finishing a marathon shoot on the scene with Buddy and Leon the Snowman, which was especially complicated because it involved a human interacting with a stop-motion character. ELF incorporates elements of each of Berenbaum’s favorite Christmas films, and even events inspired by his own experiences. David Berenbaum is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Obviously they couldn't rebuild everything again, which meant Ferrell and Artie Lange, as the Gimbels Santa, had only one take to tear the production team's hard work apart. As he explained to Jewish Journal, his dad died when he was nine, so that father/son relationship — or the searching for one — is a common theme in his work. "It was very comforting to write a Christmas movie when you miss the snow, and there's a heatwave outside." Gasp! Screenwriter David Berenbaum had initially wrote the script for Elf in 1993 with Jim Carrey in mind to star as Buddy. There is still no official title for the project. Berenbaum also loved experiencing Christmas on the silver screen, and he counts It's a Wonderful Life as one of his all-time favorite films. He chose to wear her "Wanda" nametag anyway. Elf (Nov 09, 2012 - Jan 06, 2013) Based upon the New Line Cinema Film written by David Berenbaum; MusicalComedyOriginal. That meant they could buy the license to the brand, but there was no Gimbels store to shoot in. Christmas time is here again, and what better way to celebrate the yuletide season than with a truck load of Christmas movies to keep the spirit alive well unto the New Year. But they even managed to use Riverview for the Hobbs' chic Manhattan apartment and the Gimbels department store interior, which was in the former cafeteria. ELF incorporates elements of each of Berenbaum’s favorite Christmas films, and even events inspired by his own experiences.In the film, Walter receives lingerie from Buddy as an apology gift. It's disappointing, but it makes the one and only Elf all the more special. She was also excited to record a version with Leon Redbone, of whom she was a big fan. They also saved money on the sequence showing Buddy exploring New York by sending Ferrell out in costume to interact with people. Directed by Jon Favreau from a script by David Berenbaum, “Elf” returns to the hip but warm-hearted spirit of “Swingers,” which Favreau both wrote and starred in. That includes those that lend themselves to being shot in an abandoned mental institution, such as the orphanage, the police station, the mail room, and the offices of Greenway Press. Fortunately, the legal troubles cleared. Anyone who grew up watching Rankin/Bass specials will notice similarities with Elf, especially in the North Pole sequences. At that point, Ferrell was known mainly for Saturday Night Live, which he'd just left, and for small parts in adult-only movies like the first and second Austin Powers, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Zoolander. Their main concern was Buddy's green costume, which looked strikingly similar to an elf uniform from Rankin/Bass and was in almost every scene. Ferrell told Blackfilm it was one of his favorite scenes to film. He also wrote "The Haunted Mansion" for Disney, based off the famous theme park ride; the film starred Eddie Murphy. And then they had to source all the bricks specially. Screenwriter David Berenbaum and director Jon Favreau had been each very a lot impressed by the stop-motion animated Rankin/Bass specials like Rudolph the Purple-Nosed Reindeer when making Elf, even right down to Buddy’s outfit wanting strikingly much like the one worn by the Elf Forman within the 1964 animation. The hardest part about the mealtime scenes, Steenburgen said, was not laughing at Ferrell. It turned the lead from SNL alumnus into a movie star. David Berenbaum wanted to make a classic Christmas movie. For example, the man in the red jogging suit he mistakes for Santa wasn't a paid actor. But he admitted to Rolling Stone that the sight of Ferrell in his elf costume on the side of the 59th Street Bridge did "cause a few minor traffic accidents.". David Berenbaum writes ‘ELF’ inspired by a variety of themes in his favorite Christmas films, as well as his own experiences. Your email address will not be published. Some of the movie's coziest, most Christmassy scenes were shot in a location that was neither cozy nor Christmassy — Riverview Hospital, an abandoned mental institution in British Columbia. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. That character was supposed to be played by comedian Wanda Sykes, but Love got the part when she became unavailable. https://www.mirror.co.uk/film/elf-movie-facts-secrets-ferrell-6812057 In 2006, Favreau told The A.V. He was a lot of fun.". David Berenbaum, the screenwriter behind the Christmas classic, had just moved to Los Angeles and missed the East Coa… This development was great for the screenplay, but it's also the reason Elf almost never happened. Favreau also liked that the old-school technique made the movie feel more like one of the Christmas classics he'd loved as a kid. He not only had to eat an enormous bite of spaghetti covered in candy and syrup, he had to look like he was enjoying it with a Buddy level of enthusiasm. For all Elf's Christmas magic, Berenbaum's most important scene is watching Walter hug Buddy at the end. But Caan soon put their fears to rest. They wanted to make the kind of Christmas movie that families gather together to rewatch every year in the holidays. David Berenbaum, Writer: Elf. Jim Carrey was initially eyed to play Buddy the elf in Elf. After filming wrapped on Elf and before the movie reached preview audiences, Old School premiered. In the film, Walter receives lingerie from Buddy as an apology gift. Elf (Nov 06, 2017 - Dec 29, 2017) Based on the New Line Cinema film written by David Berenbaum When David Berenbaum's spec script first … Fortunately, her reflexive grimace at the too-sweet dish worked for her character. This was also the case for Faizon Love, who played the stressed-out Gimbels manager. Speaking to The Guardian about his decision the following year, Ferrell admitted that it was a lot of money but said he had no regrets. Even the paper decorations were time-consuming. The film centers on Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa's elves. It became an architectural project in miniature, production designer Rusty Smith explained to Entertainment Weekly. This is the untold truth of Elf, including the story of building Santaland, the scene Jon Favreau added for Zooey Deschanel, the lawsuit that nearly canceled everything, what James Caan was like on set, and why there won't be a sequel no matter how much Christmas cheer we spread. (But people in those scenes did have to sign releases.) However, Favreau had to convince the movie's studio, New Line, which was wary of spending time and money on a famously laborious technique like stop-motion. Eventually, something just clicked in Jimmy, and he just went with it. In fact, according to screenwriter David Berenbaum, the story and script for the movie dates back to 1993, and was written with Jim Carrey in mind to take on the favourite elf. Cookies help us deliver our Services. Instead, they created the window where Buddy sleeps inside the Empire State Building — with a very short turnaround time, as Smith told Entertainment Weekly. She'd bleached her brown hair for another audition and wanted to change it back, but the Elf filmmakers decided blonde worked better. This challenge extended to other scenes. Elf: A Short Story of a Tall Tale [David Berenbaum, Aristides Ruiz, Buddy Hobbs, Ken Edwards Studio] on Amazon.com. [August 2002], David Berenbaum has sold his speculative script "Christmas in New Jersey", which is currently in development. As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, future Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum loved Christmas — despite being Jewish. Club, "I know Will was attached to an Elf 2. Their ultimate goal was not box office glory (although that would be nice.) Favreau explained to Rolling Stone that the original script was much darker, and that didn't gel with him. When he moved to Los Angeles, hoping to write movies himself, that love for Christmas followed and even intensified. But the people making the film had a clear and strong vision, inspired by the holiday specials of their childhood. Elf the Musical Book by Thomas Meehan, Bob Martin Music by Matthew Sklar Lyrics by Chad Beguelin Based on the New Line Cinema film by David Berenbaum Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. This meant the team relied on practical effects whenever possible. The Lite-Brite "welcome" sign caused a similar headache since they had to source extra red and blue light pegs. As Favreau explained to Rolling Stone, they made two sets, with Favreau on the one positioned closer to the camera, and lined them up so that it looked like Ferrell was sitting right next to the people on the other set. Elf - David Berenbaum - Unspecified Script - Undated - Comedy - 88 pages Advertisement By the time the project got up and running, 10 years later, Ferrell had replaced him. According to Berg, on his first day on set, he gave a speech in which he asked to be called Jimmy the Dream. Elf proved to be a big break for Zooey Deschanel, who played down-on-Christmas department store elf Jovie, whom Buddy falls in love with. In 2006, he turned down a $29 million offer — nearly the entire budget of the first movie — to put Buddy's tights back on. Favreau panicked that if he showed a cut of the movie without the as-yet-incomplete stop-motion scenes, the studio wouldn't let him add them in later. As Berenbaum told Philadelphia City Paper, "I don't think we'd be talking about the movie now if Will didn't commit to play Buddy the elf, 'cause I can't really imagine anyone else on the planet playing that role at this point.". It was released in the United States on November 7, 2003 by New Line Cinema. She told Entertainment Weekly that Favreau wanted to tailor the character to whoever played her. ", In hindsight, it's clear that casting Ferrell was key to the movie's success. The book is 14 actual pages including the title page. Picturing anyone other than Will Ferrell (or an actual elf) pulling off Buddy's unbridled Christmas spirit, hopeless naivete, and yellow tights is almost impossible now. David Berenbaum has sold his pitch for a comedy about a bumbling detective, which he is currently writing. Originally, the filmmakers wanted comic Garry Shandling, but when he declined, they went to the next obvious choice — famous tough guy James Caan. The production department even changed the stitching on Caan's chair to his new nickname overnight. It's unlikely that we'll get to see an Elf 2, at least not one that stars Will Ferrell. January 17, 2016 Tags David Berenbaum, Elf screenplay, elf script, Jon Favreau Top 5 Christmas Movie Scripts. And the cast struggled, too. She explained to Variety, "There are worse things in the world to eat than that, but we had been doing it for hours." Rusty Smith told Netflix that after Favreau had finished his cut, the studio tried to reshape the movie into an adult comedy. Initially elated when Caan took the part, the rookie producers were also a little intimidated at the thought of working with the man who played The Godfather's Sonny Corleone. Elf made nearly seven times its $32 million budget at the box office alone, but during the shoot, money was tight. "People would be on the phone, they'd be sitting at the desk cutting up paper, cutting out little dolls, cutting out little curlicues to make snowflakes," Smith said. The size would be fine (sort of an Elf inside joke) if there wasn’t an additional illustration indicating the size of the book. But when Elf was moving into production, he was considered a wildly improbable choice for the character. "That's probably my most famous role of anything I've ever done because that's the one that's on T-shirts and sweaters," he told ABC. That's no coincidence. Or that “Elf” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” were not destined to become modern holiday movie classics. Elf was David Berenbaum's first produced screenplay, and the movie was in the works going back all the way to 1993. The 2003 Will Ferrell, James Caan, '' Favreau told Rolling Stone that the School! //Www.Mirror.Co.Uk/Film/Elf-Movie-Facts-Secrets-Ferrell-6812057 Jim Carrey in mind to star as Buddy jogging suit he mistakes Santa... That scene outside the subway station make the kind of Christmas movie in... Places I 've ever been in my life. in the film had a Christmas classic original script was darker. Then I Will If that 's what the job calls for. `` movie! Sequences were ready a Jewish family, and everything was cool. 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