Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Elf’ Producer Reveals Will Ferrell Classic Was Almost an ‘Edgy’ Holiday Film

‘Elf’ Producer Reveals Will Ferrell Classic Was Almost an ‘Edgy’ Holiday Film

Although Will Ferrell’s Elf has become a holiday cult classic over the past 20 years, producer Todd Komarnicki has revealed there is an “edgy” version of the film.

During an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment in 2018, Komarnicki shared details about the unseen Elf version. The director before Jon Favreau was pushing for a more PG-13 film. “[The director] was like, ‘The movie’s not edgy enough — nobody’s gonna come to this movie,’” the producer recalled.

He then said that the “edgy” part was developing an abusive boyfriend that Zooey Deschanel’s Jovie lived with in New York City. “I imagine a lot of the movie taking place in her apartment on the Lower East Side,” Komarnicki explained how the director approached the two characters.  “I see one of those dented doors with the big metal thing, but it’s not safe for her because Jovie’s boyfriend beats her.” 

Thankfully, THAT director wasn’t hired for the film. Komarnicki jokingly shared where he thinks that filmmaker is now. “I think that director is currently in prison.”

‘Elf’ Producer Todd Komarnicki Spoke About Potentially Hiring Jim Carrey as Buddy 

Meanwhile, Todd Komarnicki spoke about the rumor that Jim Carrey was at the top of the list of actors to play loving and hilarious Buddy the Elf.  However, Komarnicki and his producing partner, Jon Berg, both had a different actor in mind. 

“Jon [Berg] and I read the script very close to each other – in fact sitting on each other’s lap,” Komarnicki stated. “As soon as we read it, he said ‘Will’ and I said ‘Ferrell.’ There was no question that this script had one person intended for it.” 

Komarnicki also stated that Carrey was never in contention of becoming Buddy the Elf despite his growing stardom in the ‘90s. “For us, it’s always been Will,” he then declared. 

Komarnicki didn’t discuss who he thought would play Jovie besides Deschanel. However, the actress stated in 2021 that she thought she was probably the production team’s fifth choice. “I was not a known person,” she explained. “But [Jon Favreau] wanted whoever they cast to be someone who had a special skill.”

That skill was singing. “Jon knew that I could sing this kind of old-time style music,” Deschanel further shared. “I had a cabaret act. So then he tailored that part to me.” 

Favreau decided Deschanel should single Frank Loeseer’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside. The actress said that the song has had a “soft cancel” over the years. “When you see people playing it, it’s supposed to be coy. But of course, when you look at the lyrics through today’s lens you just think of it as a pop song, it’s not one that would be written now.”