THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Elf' 16 years later

New Line Cinerma/Tommaso Boddi /Getty ImagesIt’s been over a decade since ‘Elf’ hit theatres.

Since its release in 2003, “Elf” has remained one of the most popular and beloved Christmas movies of all time,

With big-name actors like Will Ferrell and James Caan lending their talents to the movie and then-newbies like Peter Dinklage and Zooey Deschanel making waves in the film’s debut, it’s fun to look back.

Here’s what the cast of “Elf” has been up to in the 16 years since the film debuted.

Will Ferrell starred in “Elf” the same year “Old School” premiered.

Warner Home VideoWill Ferrell had just recently left ‘Saturday Night Live.’

Only Will Ferrell could star in the R-rated comedy “Old School” and play a human that thinks he’s a Christmas elf in a kid-friendly film during the same year.

In 2003, Ferrell had ended his “Saturday Night Live” career a year prior and was preparing to make a name for himself as a big-name movie actor.

Before taking the role of Buddy Ferrell requested that the film remain lighthearted and took cues from the Tom Hanks film “Big” in creating his character’s childlike persona.

Ferrell’s career has seen lots of success post-“Elf.”

Dimitrios Kambouris / GettyWill Ferrell has been in many movies since.

Since bringing Buddy to life, Ferrell has gone on to act in over 20 full-length feature films, including “Anchorman,”“Kicking and Screaming,”“Step Brothers,” and “Get Hard.”

Recently, he’s also gone behind-the-scenes as an executive producer, working on hit shows like Netflix’s “Dead to Me” and top-rated films like “Booksmart.”

Zooey Deschanel wasn’t the first choice to play Jovie.

New Line CinemaDeschanel believes she got a chance for the role because of her singing ability.

“Elf” was the ninth feature-length film that Zooey Deschanel had appeared in since launching her acting career in 1998.

At the time “Elf” debuted, Deschanel was a relatively new actress in Hollywood, having only made waves in the film “All the Real Girls” earlier that same year.

In an interview with Variety, Deschanel revealed that she was the second choice for the role and ultimately starred in the film as Jovie when the film’s first choice dropped out.She also told, that she believed she mostly got the role because she could sing.

Deschanel became the star of her own TV show a few years later.

Timothy Hiatt/GettyZooey Deschanel recently finished her seven-season run as Jess Day on ‘New Girl.’

Post-“Elf,” the actress starred in several major movies, including “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,”“500 Days of Summer,” and “Trolls.”

In 2006, she formed a two-person indie band with M. Ward called She & Him and, in 2011, Deschanel landed her most famous role as Jessica Day on the Fox show “New Girl.”

The show ended in 2018 after seven seasons. Currently, there are no upcoming projects listed on Deschanel’s IMDb page.

James Caan was a seasoned actor before joining “Elf.”

New Line CinemaJames Caan had been in the business for a long time.

James Caan wasn’t a Hollywood newbie when he joined the “Elf” cast as Buddy’s father, Walter. Caan had previously starred in films like “The Godfather” and “Funny Lady.”

Caan remembers “Elf” as one of his favourite comedies that he’s worked on.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesJames Caan has been involved in lots of different projects.

Years after “Elf” was released, Caan remembered it as one of his favourite comedy productions.

Since then, he’s worked on TV series like “Las Vegas,” and he’s continued to star in popular movies like “Undercover Grandpa.”

He’s also gone on to voice a character in “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and several “Godfather” video-game characters.

Bob Newhart was a well-known actor when “Elf” was released.

Warner BrothersBob Newhart mastered camera tricks to appear three-feet-tall.

Having voiced Bernard in Disney’s “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers: Down Under” and appeared in popular films like “In and Out” and “Legally Blonde 2,” Newhart was a well-known actor in the world of Hollywood before joining “Elf.”

He even had his own TV series in the 1970s titled “The Bob Newhart Show,” which saw six years of success.

Starring as Papa Elf in the 2003 film, Newhart had to appear much shorter than his adoptive son, Buddy, which meant standing several feet away from Ferrell while acting.

Newhart has continued to act.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesBob Newhart appeared in ‘Horrible Bosses’ after ‘Elf.’

Although he has continued his work on TV, Newhart has only appeared on one feature-length movie since the release of “Elf.” That movie was the 2011 film “Horrible Bosses” starring Jason Sudeikis and Jason Bateman, among many other famed celebrities.

Newhart has also made frequent appearances on the shows “The Librarians” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

In 2017, he reprised his role as Papa Elf for a local TV commercial.

Mary Steenburgen was an Academy Award winner prior to “Elf.”

New Line CinemaMary Steenburgen had received an Academy Award before her role in ‘Elf.’

Steenburgen had made her mark on Hollywood long before the release of “Elf,” with roles in flicks like “Back to the Future III” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”

In fact, she won an Academy Award for best actress in a supporting role in 1981 for her performance as Lynda Dummar in “Melvin and Howard.”

The Oscar-winning actress took her talents to the big screen once again when she appeared as Buddy’s step-mum Emily in the film “Elf.”

Steenburgen would star alongside Will Ferrell again in 2008.

Dominik Bindl/Getty ImagesMary Steenburg has been in lots of movies and TV shows since.

“Elf” wouldn’t be the last time Steenburgen would appear in a film with Ferrell. In 2008, the duo would reunite in the comedy “Step Brothers” with Steenburgen playing Ferrell’s mum once again.

Steenburgen has also appeared on TV series like “Joan of Arcadia” and “Orange Is the New Black.” She also appeared in the films “Four Christmases,”“The Proposal,”“The Help,” and “A Walk in the Woods” among many others.

“Elf” was Daniel Tay’s second movie.

New Line CinemasHe was just starting out.

Starring as Michael, Buddy’s half-brother in the film, Daniel Tay‘s first major role was in “Elf.”

The only acting credit he had prior was the 2003 film “American Splendor” in which Tay played a young Harvey.

Tay hasn’t appeared in any films since 2007.

Kevin Kane/Getty Images for Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS FoundationDaniel Tay went on to graduate from Yale.

Post-“Elf” success, the child actor voiced Doogal in the 2006 film of the same name. He also appeared in the 2006 film “Beer League” and the 2007 film “Brooklyn Rules.”

His last project was providing the voice of Bill Blue in “Grand Theft Auto IV.”

In the years since “Ef” premiered, Tay graduated from Yale University and he now tutors students preparing to take entrance exams, according to Mirror.

Peter Dinklage wasn’t too well-known before “Elf.”

New Line CinemasPeter Dinklage would go on to star on a hit series.

With the exception of “The Station Agent” in 2003, Peter Dinklage was a relatively unknown actor prior to his role in “Elf.”

In the film, Dinklage appears as Miles Finch, the seemingly grumpy best-selling author who doesn’t take kindly to Buddy. Dinklage’s performance in the film is brief but memorable.

Dinklage went on to star on the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones.”

John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPxPeter Dinklage is known for his role on HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones.’

After “Elf,” Dinklage would go on to appear in several popular movies, including “Death at a Funeral,”“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Most notably, Dinklage recently wrapped up his coveted role as Tyrion Lannister on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

He also recently appeared in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and has multiple projects in the works.

Ed Asner had an impressive career before “Elf.”

New Lines CinemasHe is a Hollywood legend.

Starring as Santa in “Elf” might not have been a defining moment for Edward Asner‘s career, but for a generation of kids, it’s his most memorable role.

Asner’s acting career stretches back to 1957 when he appeared in the TV series “Studio One in Hollywood.” He starred in upwards of 50 projects before joining the “Elf” cast in 2003.

Even years later, Asner isn’t slowing down.

Getty ImagesAsner has been credited for 60 roles.

Asner has kept his Hollywood career thriving. Since “Elf”‘s release, Asner has been credited with over 60 roles, including the TV movie “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas.”

Recently, he appeared on Netflix’s series “Dead to Me” and on the show “Forgive Me.” He has multiple projects currently in the works, several of which are set to premiere in 2019.

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