THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Elf' 17 years later

It's been over a decade since Elf hit theaters. New line Cinerma / Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images
The popular vacation film "Elf" was released in 2003.
The film showed Will Ferrell, who appeared in many other projects such as "Anchorman" and "Step Brothers".
Zooey Deschanel starred in the series "New Girl" shortly after the debut of "Elf".
Peter Dinklage became a well-known actor after playing Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones.
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Since its release in 2003, "Elf" has remained one of the most popular and popular Christmas films of all time.
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Well-known actors like Will Ferrell and James Caan have given the film their talent, and newbies like Peter Dinklage and Zooey Deschanel have made waves with their appearances.
Here's what the cast of "Elf" have done in the 17 years since the movie's debut:
Ferrell starred in "Elf" the same year "Old School" premiered.
Will Ferrell recently left Saturday Night Live before starring in Elf. Warner Home Video
In 2002, Ferrell retired on Saturday Night Live in preparation to make a name for himself in film.
In 2003, Ferrell starred in "Elf" and the R-rated comedy "Old School".
Ferrell told Entertainment Weekly in 2007 that before he took on the role of Buddy the Elf, he asked for the film to be light-hearted and based on Tom Hanks' film "Big" to create his character's childlike personality.
Ferrell's career was very successful after "Elf".
Will Ferrell has appeared in many films since then. Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty
Since Ferrell brought Buddy to life, he has appeared in over 20 full-length feature films including "Anchorman", "Kicking and Screaming", "Step Brothers" and "Get Hard".
He has also gone behind the scenes as an executive producer, working on hit shows like Netflix's "Dead to Me" and world-class films like "Booksmart".
Recently featured in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, it has continued its production path with several films lined up in post-production.
Deschanel wasn't the first choice to play Jovie.
Zooey Deschanel believes she got the role because of her singing ability. New Line Cinema
"Elf" was the ninth feature film in which Deschanel had appeared since starting her acting career in 1998.
By the time Elf debuted, Deschanel was a relatively new actress in Hollywood with a few films including All the Real Girls and Almost Famous.
In a 2018 interview with Variety, Deschanel said she was second choice for the role and ended up starring as Jovie in the film when the film's first choice fell out.
And in 2003, she told liveabout.com that she believed that most of the time she got the role because she could sing.
A few years later, Deschanel became the star of a popular TV show.
Zooey Deschanel had a seven year run as Jess Day on New Girl. Timothy Hiatt / Getty
After "Elf" the actress starred in several big films, including "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", "500 Days of Summer" and "Trolls".
In 2006 she formed a two-person indie band called She and Him with M. Ward. The couple have released several studio albums together.
Deschanel landed her most notable role as Jessica Day on Fox's New Girl in 2011. The series ended in 2018 after seven seasons.
In 2020 she voiced the character Bridget in "Trolls World Tour" and appeared as the pop star's lookalike in the short film "Katy Perry: Not The End of the World".
Caan was a seasoned actor before joining the cast of "Elf".
James Caan had been in business for a long time. New Line Cinema
Caan wasn't a Hollywood newbie when he joined the "Elf" cast as Buddy's father, Walter.
The veteran actor had previously appeared in films such as "Misery", "The Godfather" and "Funny Lady".
Caan remembers "Elf" as one of his favorite comedies that he worked on.
James Caan has been involved in many different projects. Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
In 2013, Caan told the AV Club that he remembers "Elf" as one of his favorite comedy productions.
Since starring in the Christmas film, he has worked on television series such as NBC's "Las Vegas" and continues to appear in popular films such as "Undercover Grandpa".
He also voiced a character in "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and several "Godfather" video game characters.
His film "Never Too Late" is in post-production and is set to appear in several upcoming films.
Bob Newhart was also a well-known actor when "Elf" was released.
Bob Newhart had his own TV show in the 1970s. Warner Brothers
Newhart was a well-known actor before joining the cast of "Elf", having voiced Bernard in Disney's "The Rescuers" and "The Rescuers: Down Under," and in popular films such as "In and Out" and "Legally Blonde 2 "had contributed. ""
In the 1970s he even had his own CBS television series called "The Bob Newhart Show" which ran for six years.
Newhart, who appeared in the 2003 film as Papa Elf, had to appear much shorter than his adopted son Buddy, which, according to Variety, resulted in him standing a few feet from Ferrell while acting.
Newhart continued to act.
Bob Newhart appeared in "Horrible Bosses" after "Elf". Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images
Although he has continued his work on television, Newhart has only appeared in one feature film since the release of "Elf" - the 2011 film "Horrible Bosses," starring Jason Sudeikis and Jason Bateman.
Newhart also appeared frequently on shows such as "The Librarians" from TNT and "The Big Bang Theory" from CBS.
In 2017 he repeated his role as Papa Elf for a local TV commercial.
Since 2017 he has played Professor Proton for the CBS spin-off "Young Sheldon" "Big Bang".
Mary Steenburgen was an Oscar winner before "Elf".
Mary Steenburgen had received an Oscar before her role in "Elf". New Line Cinema
Steenburgen had shaped Hollywood long before "Elf" was released, with roles in films like "Back to the Future III" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape".
She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1981 for her performance as Lynda Dummar in Melvin and Howard.
The Oscar-winning actress brought her talents back to the big screen when she appeared as Buddy's stepmother Emily in the movie "Elf".
Steenburgen would perform again alongside Ferrell in 2008.
Mary Steenburgen was in the 2020 vacation film "Happiest Season". Dominik Bindl / Getty Images
"Elf" wouldn't be the last time Steenburgen appeared in a film with Ferrell. In 2008 the duo came back together in the comedy "Step Brothers", with Steenburgen again playing Ferrell's mother.
Steenburgen has appeared in television series such as "Joan of Arcadia" from CBS and "Orange Is the New Black" from Netflix.
She was also seen in the films "Four Christmases", "The Proposal", "The Help" and "A Walk in the Woods".
In 2020, she appeared in the highly anticipated vacation film "Happiest Season".
"Elf" was Daniel Tay's second film.
Daniel Tay was just starting out in the film industry when he appeared on "Elf". New Line Cinema
Tay starred as Michael, Buddy's half-brother, in the film the first lead role in "Elf".
The only acting credit he had before was the 2003 film "American Splendor" as a young Harvey.
Tay hasn't appeared in a movie since 2007.
Daniel Tay graduated from Yale. Kevin Kane / Getty Images for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
After the success of "Elf", the child actor Doogal voiced its voice in the 2006 film of the same name. He also appeared in the films "Beer League" in 2006 and "Brooklyn Rules" in 2007.
His last project was the voice of Bill Blue on "Grand Theft Auto IV," which was released in 2009.
In the years since "Elf" premiered, Tay graduated from Yale University, according to Mirror.
Dinklage wasn't too well known before "Elf".
Peter Dinklage played Miles Finch in "Elf". New Line Cinemas
With the exception of "The Station Agent" in 2003, Dinklage was a relatively unknown actor prior to his role in "Elf".
In the film, Dinklage appears as Miles Finch, the apparently grumpy best-selling author who is not friendly to Buddy.
Dinklage starred on the HBO hit show "Game of Thrones".
Peter Dinklage is best known for his role on HBO's "Game of Thrones". John Nacion / STAR MAX / IPx
After "Elf" Dinklage appeared in several popular films, including "Death at a Funeral", "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past".
Most notably, Dinklage played the complex and popular character Tyrion Lannister in "Game of Thrones".
He recently appeared in Avengers: Infinity War and voiced animation films such as The Angry Birds Movie 2 and The Croods: A New Age.
His "Cyrano" project is in post-production and is slated to appear in several other films.
Ed Asner had an impressive career before "Elf".
Ed Asner is a Hollywood legend. New Lines cinemas
Playing as Santa Claus in "Elf" may not have been a defining moment in Asner's career, but for a generation of children it is one of his most memorable roles.
Asner's acting career dates back to 1957 when he appeared on the CBS television series "Studio One in Hollywood".
He played in over 50 projects before moving to "Elf" in 2003.
Years later, Asner is not slowing down.
Ed Asner has been credited for over 60 roles. Getty Images
Asner has kept his Hollywood career going. Since 2003, Asner has been assigned over 60 roles, including the short TV film "Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas".
He appeared on Netflix's "Dead to Me" and Super Channel's "Forgive Me".
In 2020 he was in the films "Tiger Within" and "Rain Beau's End".
In addition, Asner has many projects in pre- and post-production.
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In this article
Will Ferrell
Zooey Deschanel
James Caan
Peter Dinklage

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