‘Elf’ Reboot Announces Cast Ahead of Theatrical Release

in Movies & TV

Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) meeting his father for the first time in 'Elf'

Credit: New Line Cinema

Will Ferrell has starred in numerous blockbusters over the last 20 years, from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) to Wedding Crashers (2005), Step Brothers (2008) to The LEGO Movie (2014), and Daddy’s Home (2015) to Barbie (2023). And these movies barely scratch the surface of his acting resume.

And though he’s synonymous with the role of narcissistic news anchor Ron Burgundy, he’ll also forever be known as Buddy the Elf. It’s a role we can’t imagine anyone else playing.

Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) in the North Pole looking at the sky in 'Elf'
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: Is ‘The Snowman’ Getting a Live-Action Remake?

Elf (2003) stuffed $220 million (worldwide) into its sack when it came down movie theater chimneys two decades ago, which is particularly impressive when you consider its $33 million budget. Now, it’s widely considered one of the most beloved Christmas holiday classics of all time, often finding itself at the top of all-time favorite Christmas movie lists.

There’s a plethora of Christmas classics. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Die Hard (1988), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), The Grinch (2000), The Polar Express (2004), Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009). The list goes on and on. But there’s something about Elf that sets it apart from many others.

Kevin screaming in 'Home Alone 2: Lost in New York'
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: The 5 Best ‘Harry Potter’ Movies to Watch During the Holidays

Perhaps it’s something to do with its New York City setting. After all, the Big Apple is what sets Home Alone 2 apart from its predecessor. Elf is similar in that sense; Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) is a lot like Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), in that he’s a fish out of water in the big city. Or maybe it’s the fact that Elf is a great Christmas movie and a great comedy.

Elf follows Buddy Hobbs/Buddy the Elf, a human adopted by Santa Claus (Ed Asner) and raised as an elf in the North Pole (despite being far too tall). But when Buddy learns that his birth father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) lives in New York City, he sets out on an adventure to meet him. The trouble is that his father is on the Naughty List.

Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) smiling in 'Elf'
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Should Watch ‘Last Christmas’

Directed by Jon Favreau, this 2003 Christmas cracker feels like a picture book that’s come to life on the big screen (which is the whole idea). It’s simple, charming, funny, and heart-warming — what more can you ask for from a festive flick?

Along with Will Ferrell’s performance, Elf was praised by critics and audiences, and like other classic movies such as Back to the Future (1985), went on to inspire a musical version.

Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) in class with the other elves in 'Elf'
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: All the ‘Home Alone’ Movies Ranked From Worst to Best

The film has also become the source of many GIFs and memes, with two scenes in particular coming to mind: the one in which Buddy (Will Ferrell) is spinning through revolving doors, and the one when he’s jumping up and down excitedly in a department store.

Naturally, as is the case with most great films, rumors of a sequel did the rounds for some time, and director Jon Favreau even expressed an interest in returning to direct. However, Will Ferrell was reportedly not interested, and several years later, the late James Caan told Cleveland’s 92.3FM (via Yahoo! News) that a sequel was unlikely because Favreau and Ferrell did not get along while making the first film.

Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) at his father's apartment in 'Elf'
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: Every Chris Columbus Christmas Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

Fortunately, any sort of feud doesn’t come across in the film, and let’s count our lucky candy canes that a sequel is unlikely to happen because, as history has taught us time and time again, follow-ups to beloved classics are rarely anywhere near as good (Home Alone 2 is, of course, an exception).

Elf was so popular that it spawned a video game of the same name for the Game Boy Advance in 2004 (although it received mostly negative reviews), and six years later, Elf: The Musical (2010) on Broadway, which itself spawned Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (2014), the stop-motion animated television special.

Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) in a New York City cab
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Director Finally Settles Long-Running Debate

The musical stage adaptation ran on Broadway from 2010 to 2011, and again from 2012 to 2013. It would later appear on the West End in London from 2015 to 2016, returning for the Christmas season last year. Now, it’s set to return to London once again just in time for the holidays, and the cast has just been announced.

Per Broadway World, the production has released photos of the cast for the musical adaptation of the beloved 2003 Christmas classic, which is set to open at the Dominion Theater in London’s West End for a limited run.

Elf: The Musical Cast

Who is starring in Elf: The Musical 2023?

Unfortunately, you won’t see Will Ferrell pop up in Elf: The Musical, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have as much fun watching the stage play.

Matthew Wolfenden replaces Will Ferrell as Buddy Hobbs/Buddy the Elf, and he’s joined by Georgina Castle (Jovie), Tom Chambers (Walter Hobbs), Rebecca Lock (Emily Hobbs), Kim Ismay (Debs), Nicholas Pound (Santa), and Dermot Canavan (Store Manager). Ben Lancaster has been cast as an alternate Buddy.

You can check out the photos as shared by Broadway World here.

Elf: The Musical Synopsis

Is Elf: The Musical the same as the movie?

Elf: The Musical is adapted from the 2003 film; however, unlike the film, it’s a musical and features some slight alterations to the story, as well as the omission of a couple of characters. Per the official website, here’s the synopsis:

Due to popular demand, ELF the smash hit musical returns to London’s Dominion Theatre for a second consecutive year to play a strictly limited season from 15 November 2023 until 6 January 2024.

ELF is the funny and charming tale of Buddy, who mistakenly crawled into Santa’s bag as a baby and was raised as an elf!

Way too tall and not so great at his job, Buddy is the North Pole’s biggest misfit… and knows he’ll never belong. When Santa tells him the truth, Buddy heads to New York to find his birth father (who is quite high on the Naughty List).

After causing some merry mayhem in Manhattan, Buddy finally discovers the gift of family and falls in love. And when Santa’s sleigh crashes in Central Park, it’s Buddy who finds a way to save Christmas forever!

Elf: The Musical Trailer

Is there a trailer?

Yes! Per Official London Theater, here’s the trailer for the West End version of the musical:

Elf: The Musical Release Date

Where is Elf: The Musical showing?

Elf: The Musical arrives at London’s Dominion Theater on November 15 for a limited run only, ending on January 6, 2024

Elf: The Musical Reviews

Is Elf: The Musical worth seeing?

Elf: The Musical has received mostly positive reviews since its first appearance on Broadway in 2010. Since then, it has also appeared on the West End and has even been on tour.

The stage play is a wonderful retelling of the 2003 classic. It’s also a solid rebranding and has become an entity in its own right, having appealed to new audiences with new elements including several musical numbers, while retaining those sweet ingredients that make its big-screen counterpart so special.

For more information about Elf: The Musical, visit the official website.

Check out the trailer for Elf the movie below, which is now streaming on HBO Max:

Elf the movie stars Will Ferrell (Buddy Hobbs/Buddy the Elf), James Caan (Walter Hobbs), Zooey Deschanel (Jovie), Mary Steenburgen (Emily Hobbs), Ed Asner (Santa Claus), Bob Newhart (Papa Elf), Daniel Tay (Michael Hobbs), Faizon Love (Wanda), Peter Dinklage (Miles Finch), Amy Sedaris (Deb), and Michael Lerner (Fulton Greenway).

Are you a fan of Elf? Have you seen the musical yet? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Movies & TV

Comments Off on ‘Elf’ Reboot Announces Cast Ahead of Theatrical Release