Will Ferrell gave a very candid interview with The Hollywood Reporter, opening up about decisions that he had made over the course of his long career. One of his admissions was that he was approached to do a sequel to the wildly successful Christmas film Elf and turned it down despite what would have been a $29 million paycheck. According to Ferrell, the proposed sequel was essentially a retread of the original plot and he didn't think he would feel right promoting it.
"I would have had to promote the movie from an honest place, which would've been, like, 'Oh no, it's not good. I just couldn't turn down that much money,'" Ferrell explained. "And I thought, 'Can I actually say those words? I don't think I can, so I guess I can't do the movie.'"
Hilariously, his Elf costar Faizon Love spoke to TMZ in November and said that he'd be willing to step in as the lead of a sequel for much less money. "I think Elf 2 could happen with Faizon Love, for $22 million," he joked. "What's wrong with a Black elf? I think America's ready for a Black elf. We had a Black president, we had an orange president, now it's time for a Black elf. I'm surprised he turned down that much money. It must be good to be white."
Ultimately, Ferrell just wants to make people laugh. Elsewhere in the interview, he references an old quote from fellow comedian Steve Martin. "There's just so much going on in the world, and sometimes it's nice to turn your brain off," Ferrell said. "Coming out of the '60s, which were so contentious, Steve was like, 'Everyone's doing message comedy, and I just want to walk out with an arrow shooting through my head,' and that's kind of how I feel right now."
This wasn't the first time that an abandoned sequel to Elf had been mentioned in an Interview. James Caan, who played Ferrell's father in the original film, claimed during an interview last year with The Fan in Cleveland that one of the reasons the sequel never happened was a disagreement between Ferrell and the movie's director, Jon Favreau.
"We were gonna do it, and I thought, 'Oh my God, I finally have a franchise movie. I can make some money, let my kids do what the hell they want to do,'" Caan said. "The director and Will didn't get along very well. Will wanted to do it, and he didn't want the director, and [Favreau] had it in his contract. It was one of those things."