Elf is officially 20 years old so here are the wild cast transformations, two decades on

Buddy’s brother Michael is now 31!

It’s finally gearing up to Christmas. Christmas markets across the country are opening, the Baileys hot chocs are officially being consumed and all the Christmas adverts are on the telly. And probably one of the most popular Christmas films, Elf is being watched again.

Well, Elf turned 20 years old this week. It was first released in the UK on the 14th November 2003 meaning we’ve been watching Will Ferrell in bright yellow tights for 20 Christmases now.

Obviously, the main cast members Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel have massive careers now, but what do they and the rest of the cast look like 20 years after Elf was released?

Here are all the wild Elf cast transformations, 20 years on:

Buddy – Will Ferrell

Via Ron Adar/Shutterstock

The main character and the most famous of the lot, Will Ferrell played Buddy the Elf in the film. Before the movie came out in 2003, he spent seven years on Saturday Night Live which he left to make a name for himself as an actor.

Since Elf, he’s been in over 20 huge films including Anchorman, Step Brothers, and Get Hard and he most recently appeared as the CEO of Mattel in Barbie. He’s also worked behind the scenes as an executive producer on Succession and films like Booksmart.

In 2000 Will married Swedish actress Viveca Paulin and they have three kids together, Magnus, Mattias and Axel. He runs a lot of marathons and in 2017 was given an honorary degree by the University of Southern California.

Jovie – Zooey Deschanel

Via Instagram

Zooey Deschanel plays Jovie in the film. Before Elf, she starred in Almost Famous in 2000 and All the Real Girls in 2003 but Elf was definitely when her career started to take off. She was actually the second choice for the role of Jovie. In 2018 she said she starred in the film after the first choice dropped out: “I went in as a backup. The person they cast couldn’t do it,” she explained. “A lot of the parts I got early in my career, I was filling in for someone else who had dropped out last minute.”

After Elf she appeared in films such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 500 Days of Summer and probably most famously, the TV show New Girl.

Zooey married film producer Jacob Pechenik in 2015 and had a daughter in 2015 and a son in 2017. They divorced in 2020 after separating the year before. The same year she met television personality Jonathan Scott and they got engaged at Edinburgh Castle earlier this year.

Michael Hobbs – Daniel Tay

Via YouTube

Daniel Tay plats Michael Hobbs, Buddy’s brother in Elf. He was just 11 when the film came out in 2003, meaning he’s now 31! Elf was his first role and after the film, he had a couple of minor roles in Doogal, Beer League and Brooklyn Rules.

But after that, he kind of dropped off the public radar. He quit acting in 2009 and between 2010-2014 he went to Yale University and graduated with a degree in Economics.  After that, he became a teacher. According to his LinkedIn, Daniel is still working as a teacher and SAT tutor, a research associate for Columbia University and he also volunteers at a hospital in Lower Manhattan, New York. His profile also says he speaks English, Spanish and Mandarin. He also won a Volunteer of the Year award.

Walter Hobbs – James Caan

James Caan before he died in 2022 (Via Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock)

James Caan played Buddy’s Dad, the children’s book publisher who was firmly on the naughty list. He sadly died in July last year from a heart attack. He was married four times and had a son, actor Scott Caan.

Before Elf James Caan was nominated in the Golden Globes for his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and after Elf, he appeared in films like Get Smart, For the Love of Money and Holy Land.

Emily Hobbs – Mary Steenburgen

Elf cast transformations

Via Ovidiu Hrubaru/Shutterstock

Mary Steenburgen played Emily, Walter’s wife in the movie. She was an Academy-Award-winning actress before Elf for her film Melvin and Howard. In 2008, she reunited with Will Ferrell in Step Brothers. In 2018 she starred in the film Book Club and its subsequent sequel.

Outside of acting she is also really into songwriting. Now 70, she married actor Malcolm McDowell in 1980 and has two children: Lily, an actress, and Charlie, a director and screenwriter who is married to Emily in Paris star Lily Collins.

Miles Finch – Peter Dinklage

Elf cast transformations

Via Lev Radin/Shutterstock

Peter Dinklage played Miles Finch in Elf, the story creator whom Buddy calls an “angry elf” leaving a bit of a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

After Elf, he has a huge career including on Game of Thrones from 2011 to 2019. He is also starring in the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is out tomorrow. He married his wife Erica Schmidt, a producer in 2005 and they have two kids.

Papa Elf – Bob Newhart

Elf cast transformations

Via Eugene Powers/Shutterstock

Bob Newhart played the legendary Papa Elf who broke the news to Buddy that he was actually a human. Now 92, Bob is a huge comedian who was massively popular in the 70s and 80s. He is best known for The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart.

In 2006, Bob released a memoir called I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This talking about his life as a comedian. He married his wife Ginnie in 1963 and they have two children and 10 grandchildren. His wife sadly died earlier this year.

Featured image via Instagram. 

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