Will Ferrell wasn’t cut out for the life of a banker. Instead, he decided to pursue a career in comedy, and we can clearly say, the decision was the correct one, as his comedy films have thrived at the box office.
One in particular, boosted his career to the next level. However, like so many other celebs, Ferrell (now 55 years-old) struggled to see the potential early on. In fact, the script was actually intended for Jim Carrey, but the actor would turn down the role.
He’s far from the only actor to get a script developed around his talent, only to turn it down. Ryan Gosling is another example, he was the prototype for Fifty Shades.
In the following, we’ll take a look at Will Ferrell’s journey with Elf, and why Jim Carrey turned down the project prior.
Will Ferrell Thought Elf Would Ruin His Career
During the early 2000s, Will Ferrell started to establish himself as a major name in comedy. Leaving SNL, the actor was making a push in film, releasing Old School. However, when the script came along for Elf, Will Ferrell struggled to understand it early on, and feared the film might end his career and momentum.
“So here I am in this Christmas movie, like ‘Oh my God, am I just going to be killed on this?’ Are people going to just go, ‘Wait, what is this premise? What’s going on here?’ I had no idea,” he told The Off Camera Show.
However, when it was time to test screen the concept, Ferrell understood that there was some serious potential for a great film.
“The first time we tested the movie, we did two screenings. We did one that was more of a family-focused audience and it worked great with them.”
Ferrell continues, “I’m looking at the lineup for the second screening and it’s like a bunch of frat boys from USC, and we might get eviscerated in this.’ But it played for that audience too. ”
Elf would go on to enjoy huge success, making $225 million at the box office, off a tame budget of $33 million. Following its release, the film would enjoy great success as a cult-classic for many years down the road.
Fans can’t picture Elf without Will Ferrell dawning the main role. However, Jim Carrey was first considered and could’ve also made for quite the film. The script was first developed back in 1993. Ultimately, it took too long to get to production, causing Carrey to back out and look elsewhere.
The publication writes, “Unfortunately, the production of the film took longer than expected (we’re talking 10 years longer), so Carrey turned down the role to pursue other projects.”
We doubt Jim Carrey felt remorse over the lost project, as he thrived at the box office with The Grinch in 2000, bringing in $345 million.
The same year as Elf’s release, Carrey made a fortune of his own at the box office thanks to Bruce Almighty, as the film made $484 million.
Thanks to its success, Evan Almighty was later created, however Jim wouldn’t appear in the sequel. Ultimately, Will Ferrell decided on the same approach when it came time for a second Elf film.
Will Ferrell Said No To $29 Million To Star In The Elf Sequel
Fans will be disappointed to learn that Will Ferrell turned down a sequel to Elf, despite the fact that he was offered $29 million. The actor spoke about the decision to turn down a sequel alongside The Guardian.
“But I killed the idea of a sequel. I never liked it – $29m does seem a lot of money for a guy to wear tights, but it’s what the marketplace will bear. It’s insane, but it’s not my call. The studios perpetuate it and they make it hard to say no.”
According to Ferrell, the fear of the film failing was the biggest reason for turning down the project.
“It wasn’t difficult at all,’ he says. ‘I remember asking myself: could I withstand the criticism when it’s bad and they say, “He did the sequel for the money”? I decided I wouldn’t be able to. I didn’t want to wander into an area that could erase all the good work I’ve done – but you watch, I’ll do some sequel in the future that’s crap.”
Respect to Ferrell for turning down the film, despite a massive offer.
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