James Caan’s Displeasure: Recalling His Experience Working with Will Ferrell on Elf


The production of the beloved Christmas movie “Elf” might seem like it was filled with as much joy as watching the film itself, but according to Will Ferrell, not everyone on set shared that sentiment. Despite Ferrell’s spirited portrayal of Buddy the Elf, conveying the character’s infectious enthusiasm for Christmas, his co-star James Caan, who played his on-screen father, had a different take on Ferrell’s approach.

Ferrell’s performance as Buddy was characterized by exuberance, loudness, and an unwavering obsession with the holiday spirit – all essential qualities for someone playing Santa’s dedicated helper. However, this energetic demeanor wasn’t exactly appreciated by everyone during filming. Ferrell recounted on the Late Late Show with James Corden that Caan had some reservations about his behavior on set.

While reflecting on his experience working with Caan, Ferrell mentioned an amusing incident at the movie premiere. “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.’”

The anecdote offers a humorous insight into Caan’s initial confusion and perhaps frustration with Ferrell’s exuberance. The idea of Caan being utterly perplexed by Ferrell’s approach adds a comical layer to the behind-the-scenes dynamic. Interestingly, this real-life tension might have contributed positively to the on-screen chemistry, as it resonated well with the storyline of a disenchanted father and an overly enthusiastic son, making their on-screen relationship more authentic and relatable in the family film.