Will Ferrell says he turned down a sequel to Elf and a promised $29 million paycheck.
The actor and comedian appeared on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter this week where he spoke about the success of the 2003 film, which was directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man).
Ferrell says he turned down the sequel due to it having a similar premise as the original movie.
"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 told THR. "And I thought, 'Can I actually say those words? I don't think I can, so I guess I can't do the movie.'"
Elf was a box office hit grossing $223 million worldwide and becoming an instant Christmas classic. According to THR, he would have been paid $29 million for taking part in the sequel.
The film follows Ferrell's Buddy the Elf as he travels to New York City to find his biological father after having been raised in the North Pole by Santa's elves.
In September 2020, James Caan, who played Buddy's father, Walter Hobbs, told the radio show The Fan in Cleveland that a sequel was never made due to an alleged disagreement between Ferrell and Favreau.
"We were gonna do it," Caan said of the sequel, "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.'"
However, "the director and Will didn't get along very well," Caan said. "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."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Although fans of Elf have been clamoring for a sequel since the original film's release, Ferrell has made it clear that he is not interested in participating.
In December 2013, the actor said there would "absolutely not" be a sequel. "It would look slightly pathetic if I tried to squeeze back into the Elf tights," he said on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live.
Ferrell is working on another Christmas movie, a movie musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol called Spirited. The film also stars Ryan Reynolds.