1. Jim Carrey was originally supposed to play the lead role of Buddy the elf.
When the script was first written in 1993, Carrey was tagged on to star. However, as I’m sure you know, over the course of 10 years, things change.
2. Forced perspective, not CGI, was used to make Buddy appear much larger than the other elves.
Just like the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings movies.
3. Will Ferrell suffered from headaches and lack of sleep during production as a result of all the candy he had to eat while filming.
As a sidenote, those cotton balls Buddy eats in the doctor’s office? Cotton candy:
4. The costume Buddy wears is an almost exact replica of those the elves wore in the claymation classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
The Christmas classic was a big influence on Elf, especially the claymation scenes.
5. Gimbel’s is actually a digitally altered version of the Macy’s on 34th Street in New York.
6. Buddy’s 12-second burp is not done by Will Ferrell. It’s actually done by the same voice actor as Brain from Pinky and the Brain.
7. Will Ferrell actually worked as a mall Santa with Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Life) as his elf before his career took off.
8. Will Ferrell’s reactions in this scene are totally genuine. Director Jon Favreau used a remote control to manually pop the jack-in-the-boxes in order to surprise Will Ferrell.
9. Jon Favreau also did the voice of Mr. Narwhal for the movie.
And he had another cameo as Buddy’s doctor:
He also directed the first two Iron Man films.
10. The actor who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story makes a cameo as an elf in the film.
Peter Billingsley plays an uncredited role.
11. Will Ferrell turned down $29 million to do a sequel to Elf.
12. The sound effect the jack-in-the-boxes use is actually remarkably similar to the laughing hyenas at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.
13. And in case you forgot, Peter Dinklage also plays the real-world “elf” in the movie:
14. The raccoon that attacks Buddy makes monkey sounds instead of whatever sound a raccoon makes.
15. The infamous “throne of lies” scene had to be shot in one take, as the set was too extensive to rebuild for another shot.
16. Some of the sets for Elf, like Walter’s apartment and Gimbals’ toy department, were built in an abandoned mental hospital in Vancouver, the same hospital where New Line shot Freddy Vs. Jason.
Some of the sets for Elf, including Walter’s apartment and the toy department at Gimbal’s were built in an the same abandoned mental hospital hospital where Freddy Vs. Jason was filmed.
17. People were so shocked to see Will Ferrell in costume walking around Central Park and the Lincoln Tunnel that several traffic accidents were reported.
18. Finally, while this may be heartbreaking, you need to know: There aren’t that many buttons in the Empire State Building’s elevators.
IT’S ALL A LIE!
All facts via IMDB and the film’s commentary.