Every now and again, there have been rumors about a possible Elf sequel. It would make sense given the movie is loved by fans, overperformed at the box office and has turned into a Christmas classic, but those rumors have never really gotten past the speculation stage. Star Will Ferrell has also pretty consistently said he won’t return to the role, even for extreme amounts of money. The former SNL star hasn’t made a sequel to many of his popular movies; so, most assumed he likely just wanted to try other things. It turns out, however, that there may be a bit more to it.
Elf star and Hollywood legend James Caan got to talking about the subject during an appearance on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, and he said the real reason the sequel hasn’t happened is because Will Ferrell and director Jon Favreau didn’t get along during the shoot. Apparently the contracts were structured in such a way that both needed to be involved moving forward, and that just wasn’t going to happen. Check out his quote…
We were gonna do it, and I thought ‘Oh my God, I finally have a franchise movie. I can make some money, let my kids do what the hell they want to do.’ The director and Will didn’t get along very well. Will wanted to do it, and he didn’t want the director. He had it in his contract. It was one of those things.
There are a lot of people in Hollywood who are well known for having run-ins on the sets of their movies. Some are pushy and difficult to work with. Some are unprofessional and show up late. Some just don’t play well with others. Neither Ferrell nor Favreau have those reputations, however, at least not mostly. Both seem to be pretty well-liked by the people they work with; so, that’s why there’s been a bit of collective surprise since the quote above first started circulating.
That being said, unless we get more to this story or one of the two goes on record, it’s important not to jump to conclusions or assume the worst in either. A lot of people in Hollywood work in different ways. They have different styles and need different things to be part of an effective collaboration. Not even Tom Hanks got along perfectly with every director he worked with. So, for the time being, I’m just going to assume they have different styles and not that one of them is a monster to work with or wouldn’t come out of his trailer.
There have been times over the years in which Jon Favreau has expressed a willingness to come back for Elf 2. Will Ferrell has always been very direct about his unwillingness to return. I'm fine with never getting a sequel, but I do think it's important to point out that the film, apart from just being awesome, is incredibly important to both of their careers. The comedy both cemented Will Ferrell as a leading man, as he was often a supporting player prior, and it showed studios Jon Favreau's potential as a director. So, even if the experience apparently wasn't the best at the time, I'd like to hope all involved think it was all worth it.