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The Cast of ‘Elf’ Then and Now: See What the Stars of the Christmas Movie Look Like 18 Years Later!

If you’re a child of the ‘90s and 2000s, it probably feels like just yesterday that you were cracking up watching Will Ferrell‘s hilarious adventure to find his dad in the holiday classic, Elf, for the first time. Well, believe it or not, the film actually debuted on Nov. 7, 2003 … and yes, that comes out to a whole 18 years ago! 

While the film became an instant classic that’s still featured in movie marathons, holiday events and drive-ins today, Will admitted to James Corden on The Late Late Show in 2018 that “There were moments” he thought the now-beloved film would be the downfall of his entire acting career.

“The first two weeks of shooting were kind of all the exteriors in New York. So, still kind of discovering what this movie’s gonna be and running around New York City in yellow tights. People recognizing me from Saturday Night Live going, ‘You OK? What’s going on?'” he explained. “This is either going to be a home run or people are going to go, ‘Whatever happened to you? Why did you do that one about the elf?'”

Of course, it was the former. When asked about the cult-classic success of the film, Will said “it was just obviously one of those where the stars aligned and 15 years later, it’s crazy.”

What seems craziest to fans is the fact that despite the film’s success, there was never a sequel. Luckily, James Caan, who played Walter Hobbs in the movie, finally revealed why in September 2020.

“We were going to 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,'” he told the “Bull & Fox” show on Cleveland’s 92.3 FM radio station. According to James, it never happened because “the director [Jon Favreau, who also played Buddy’s doctor] and Will didn’t get along very well. Will wanted to do it, and he didn’t want the director.”

Unfortunately, it was “in [Jon’s] contract” to direct any sequels, so “it was just one of those things,” lamented James. But hey, everyone knows the sequel is never as good as the original, so maybe it was for the best.

Scroll through the gallery to see what the cast looks like now! 

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