America's favorite elf almost wasn't Will Ferrell… Jim Carrey was originally supposed to play the lead role.
Before his movie career took off, Will Ferrell played Santa at a shopping mall. SNL star Chris Kattan played his elf.
Actress Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) played Jovie, Buddy the Elf's love interest in the film. She is also a singer, half of the band She & Him, which is why she sounded so good in the shower scene duet.
Elf gave a big nod to 1964's 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.' The elf costume was replicated almost exactly, as were many of the animals.
Turns out the elf's 4 main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup, aren't actually all that good for you. Will Ferrell suffered headaches and insomnia during the creation of the film.
Peter Billingsley, the actor that played Ralphie in the 1983 classic 'A Christmas Story' plays Ming Ming the elf in the film.
Director Jon Favreau didn't want to use CGI to make the elves appear smaller, limiting himself to older techniques to provide the classic, nostalgic feel. Instead, Favreau used "forced perspective," an old movie trick involving separate platforms and distance distortion.
Will Ferrell walking around the streets of New York actually caused several reported car accidents. Gimbel's, the department store where he works, is actually a digitally altered Macy's on 34th Street.
The magnificent 12-second burp that remains one of the most memorable moments was actually produced by Maurice LaMarche, the voice of Brain from 'Pinky and the Brain."
Jon Favreau was busy directing, yes, but found the time to make a cameo as the doctor that sees Buddy the Elf. He's also the voice of Mr. Narwhal.
No matter how much we love a movie – the sequel almost never tops the original. Will Ferrell turned down a reported 29 million to make Elf 2, so we can rest easy and continue to watch our beloved 'Elf' on repeat for the entire month of December.