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The Elf cast - where are the Christmas movie stars now?

Our Elf cast list tells you everything worth knowing about and what the stars of one of the best Christmas movies have been up to since it was released.

Elf cast

Where is the Elf cast now? A modern classic, Elf is widely regarded by Christmas enthusiasts as one of the best festive flicks ever. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film tells the story of Buddy the Elf, a human who was accidentally adopted by one of Santa’s elves.

Raised at the North Pole and unaware of his true identity, Buddy (Will Ferrell) struggles to fit in with Santa’s helpers and eventually discovers his true origins, creating one of the best Christmas movies ever. With a little help from Santa and his adopted dad, Papa Elf, Buddy sets off to New York City, where he hopes to track down his biological father.

Unfortunately for Buddy, his dear old dad is on the naughty list and doesn’t care much for the holiday season. Elf was a huge success and is rightly regarded by fans as one of the best movies set around the festive period. It has even spun off an animated movie special and a Broadway show. With all this success, it’s worth thinking about what the Elf cast has been up to that’s stopped them from making a new movie to catch up with Buddy again.

Who’s in the Elf cast list?

  • Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf
  • James Caan as Walter
  • Zooey Deschanel as Jovie
  • Mary Steenburgen as Emily
  • Ed Asner as Santa
  • Bob Newhart as Papa Elf
  • Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch
  • Amy Sedaris as Deb

Elf cast: Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf

Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf

Will Ferrell? Never heard of him! No, we’re just being cotton-headed ninny muggins. After Elf, Ferrell’s career exploded, he made a string of incredibly successful comedy movies, including Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Wedding Crashers, and Step Brothers, among many, many more.

Not content with traditional fame in 2007, he founded the comedy website Funny or Die with his frequent collaborator and writing partner Adam McKay. Ferrell has also appeared in numerous TV shows, including The Office, 30 Rock and The Shrink Next Door.

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In recent years Ferrell’s also started producing movies, working on critical darlings like Olivia Wilde’s riotously funny Booksmart – one of the best teen movies in years – and the cult hit Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. He made another Christmas movie last year, too, starring opposite Ryan Reynolds in Spirited. We were quite fond of the 2022 movie, too, as you can see from our Spirited review.

Elf cast: James Caan as Walter Hobbs in Elf

James Caan as Walter

James Caan played Buddy’s miserable father, who’s on Santa’s naughty list because of his selfishness. Despite having appeared in some of the best drama movies ever, like The Godfather and Misery, Caan loved working on Elf, describing it as one of his favourite comedy productions ever.

Since Elf Caan’s continued to work in film and TV. His most notable roles are probably playing The Woodcutter in the anime movie The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Tim Lockwood – the strict father of the lovable main character Flint — in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. He also had the honour of playing himself in an episode of The Simpsons in 2009. James Caan sadly passed away on July 6, 2022.

Elf cast: Zoey Deschanel as Jovie in Elf

Zooey Deschanel as Jovie

Zooey Deschanel played the weary department store elf Jovie, who Buddy falls for when he hears her singing in the shower. Since appearing in Elf, Deschanel’s career went from strength to strength. The year after appearing in Elf, she appeared in the science fiction movie Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and she’d go on to star in films like Bridge to Terabithia, the M Night Shyamalan movie The Happening and, most notably, (500) Days of Summer.

She was tipped at one point to play The Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but these plans fell through. That bad luck worked in her favour, though, as it allowed her to appear in the show that arguably made her a household name, New Girl. Since that show wrapped up, she’s continued to appear in a range of the best TV series and movies.

Elf cast: Mary Steenburgen as Emily in Elf

Mary Steenburgen as Emily

Mary Steenburgen played Emily Hobbs, the kindly wife of Walter, making her Buddy’s stepmother. One of the few people in the Hobbs family who had any time for Buddy, she was always a favourite of mine. A veteran actor by the time she appeared in Elf, Steenburgen continued to work in Hollywood after the film’s release.

One of her more notable roles saw her team up with Elf leading man Will Ferrell once again for Step Brothers. Meanwhile, in 2013 she reunited with her Elf co-star James Caan in The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, where she once again played his wife.

A big-screen project, Nightmare Alley, saw her work with Guillermo del Toro — the veteran director behind some of the best horror movies ever made. And, of course, we can’t forget the Book Club movies, with chapter 2 now out.

Elf cast: Ed Asner as Santa in Elf

Ed Asner as Santa

Ed Asner played Santa multiple times in his career, but his portrayal of jolly Saint Nick in Elf will always make it one of the best family movies. Asner was a prolific actor appearing in more than fifty films between the release of Elf in 2003 and his death in 2021.

His best-known credit in that time is probably Carl Fredricksen, the grumpy old man from the Pixar movie Up, who finds himself on an adventure with young Wilderness Explorer Russell. Asner also had an impressive TV career appearing onscreen for shows like Netflix’s Dead To Me and Cobra Kai while also lending his voice to some of the best animated series, like SpongeBob Squarepants and Teen Titans.

Elf cast: Bob Newhart as Papa Elf

Bob Newhart as Papa Elf

Bob Newhart played the delightfully dry Papa Elf, Buddy’s adoptive father. Since putting away Papa’s pointy hat, Newhart has starred in some of the best comedy movies, most notably Horrible Bosses, but it’s TV work that’s kept him most busy.

He’s appeared in everything from Desperate Housewives to NCIS. He’s probably best remembered at this point for his multiple appearances in the comedy series The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon, where he plays Professor Proton, Sheldon’s childhood hero.

Elf cast: Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch

Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch

Peter Dinklage played Miles Finch, a best-selling children’s author with a fiery temper who attacks Buddy after he confuses him for an elf. Following his role in Elf, Dinklage appeared in several films and TV series, including The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Threshold, and 30 Rock.

It wasn’t until 2011, when he was cast as the Game of Thrones character Tyrion Lannister in one of the best fantasy series ever, that his career really took off. Dinklage played Tyrion across all eight seasons. A huge commercial and critical success, Game of Thrones became a global phenomenon, and Dinklage went on to win four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series as well as a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Tyrion.

His film career also took off, and he went on to play the villain in the X-Men movie Days of Future Past and appeared in the Oscar-winning movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Since Game of Thrones wrapped up, Dinklage has continued to star in movies, appearing in Avengers: Infinity War and a musical version of Cyrano de Bergerac.

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Amy Sedaris as Deb

Although he role as Deb, Walter’s secretary, might be relatively small, Amy Sedaris has become quite the name since. Fans of a galaxy far, far away should know as Star Wars character Peli Motto in both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

Besides Star Wars, she’s done a lot of voice work, featuring in Bojack Horseman, Chicken Little, The Lion King, and many more. Elf certainly brought good tidings to her career!

For more festive fun, here are our guides to the Home Alone cast, and The Grinch castIf you are a gamer, see the best Christmas games, the best games to play over Christmas and the best Minecraft Christmas mods, skins, and seeds.