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James Caan really didn’t like making Elf with Will Ferrell

You'd think making the Christmas movie Elf was a load of fun for all those involved, but actor James Caan did not enjoy the experience.

James Caan and Will Ferrell in Elf

If the experience of making the Christmas movie Elf is anything like the joy of watching it, we imagine everyone had a lot of fun during the shoot. Well, that’s not quite the case, as Will Ferrell explained his co-star James Caan had some issues during the production on the 2000s movie.


Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf in the comedy movie, and does a fantastic job of conveying the playful energy of the character. He’s loud, enthusiastic, and absolutely obsessed with the notion of Christmas, but that all comes with the territory of being one of Santa’s little (or big) helpers, right?

All that energy wasn’t to everybody’s liking at the time, though. Ferrell revealed in an appearance on the Late Late Show with James Corden that Caan, who played his on-screen father, was secretly annoyed by his behaviour on set.

“James Caan, just getting to work with him every day was kind of a pinch me moment. But, he came up to me at the premiere and, you know, it had gone great. People were like ‘This is going to be fantastic,’ and then [Caan] is like ‘Hey, I gotta tell you something,” Ferrell recalled.

“He said, ‘Every day on set, I thought you were way too over the top. But now I see what you’re doing. Great job,'” Ferrell continued. “I just love the thought that there we were, working every day, and he’s going back to his hotel going, ‘Jeez, get me out of this one.'”

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That is a very funny story and the idea of Caan absolutely pulling his hair out because he just cannot understand what Ferrell is doing is hilarious. Saying that, the real-life dynamic probably worked for the best as the story for the family movie lends itself to a disgruntled father and an overzealous son.

If you love Christmas as much as Buddy, you should check out our list of the best Disney Plus Christmas movies or the best Netflix Christmas movies.