21 Things You Might Not Know About Elf

Even thought the Will Ferrell movie Elf seems fairly recent among classic Christmas movies, it is eleven years old now. You may enjoy watching it again this year, but you’ll enjoy it even more when you learn a few things that went on behind the scenes. Such as

3. Director Jon Favreau favored practical effects.

Inspired by the Christmas specials he grew up with, Favreau explained in the film's commentary track that he employed “old techniques” instead of CGI whenever possible. This included stop-motion animation, and using forced perspective to make Buddy look like a giant among his elf peers. For North Pole scenes, two sets were built—one larger scale for the actors playing elves, the other smaller to make Buddy and Santa look big. These elements where then carefully overlaid in camera, using lighting to blend the seams.

14. Will Ferrell broke James Caan.

The Academy Award-nominated Godfather star was hired to play Walter in part because Favreau wanted a stern persona to play against Ferrell's giddy Buddy, and Caan took the comedy of Elf seriously. He knew it was crucial for Walter to be annoyed—never amused—by his supposed son's antics. But when it came to the blood test scene where Buddy bellows when pricked by a needle, Caan cracked. Watch closely and you'll see he turns away from the camera so as not to ruin the take.

Now, see, these are things you'll notice and appreciate the next time you watch the movie. Read the rest of 21 trivia tidbits about Elf at mental_floss.

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