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Interview with Will Ferrell

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Will Ferrell stars in Elf

Will Ferrell stars as Buddy in "Elf."

New Line Cinema
When you decided to leave "Saturday Night Live," did you worry about how much work you needed to do to succeed when there have been others who have left the show and failed?
Yes. I just felt I had been on the show for a nice amount of time. I definitely wanted to leave “Saturday Night Live” at a time when I still enjoyed doing the show. I didn't have a supreme confidence that I would be immediately successful after leaving the show, but I just knew it was the right time to test myself and get out there and try other things.

Speaking of trying other things, Zooey Deschanel said your next movie with her is not a comedy. Is that going be tough for people to accept?
Yes. [Long pause] I don't know. It will be a whole different thing in a way that hopefully you view a Bill Murray doing something like that. It will be interesting to see because it's a smaller film. It's more like an independent, Sundance-type of movie. I'm really looking forward to seeing if I'm going to be in over my head, or if it will be just another aspect of something I have within me that I'm able to do. We'll find out. I'm going to try my best.

Some actors/comedians use comedy to compensate for some tragedy in their life. Do you have something that inspires your comedy?
I've been asked that question before and it's true, a lot of people have gotten into comedy because of certain influences in their lives or events that were painful, and I really have wracked my brain to figure it out. I pretty much have had a normal childhood. Maybe it was too normal.

If "Elf" becomes hugely successful, would you be okay being a ‘family’ comedian for a while?
I don't know if I can necessarily look that far into the future. I kind of feel I'm going to, hopefully, have the opportunity to just pick material that's just going to be interesting to me on a project-to-project basis, as opposed to trying to fulfill a certain category. The movie that's coming out that we shot this summer couldn't be more different from this. It would be fun to always just keep everyone guessing, if I can.

Do kids think you're genuinely funny?
I guess they do from stuff they've seen me in. But in person when they meet you, they're a little shell-shocked. It's not like I have this great knack for making kids laugh in person, but some kids tell me that they think I'm funny.

What was Christmas like for you as a kid?
It was always a special time for the most part. We had a little different dynamic in that my folks had split up at an early age, so we would go back and forth on Christmas Day to have one Christmas here, and the other Christmas there. But that just amounted to two Christmases. I made out like a bandit.

Did you feel the extra pressure of carrying this film, since you are the lead?
You know, I don't usually feel pressure so much. I probably should feel it more, but it's probably just ignorance on my part. I guess when I really stop to think about it, I feel it a little bit. During the course of filming you kind of realize I'm gonna be the main thing in this. As long as I'm having fun and enjoying it, I really don't try to worry about it.

If you had anything to say about "Elf" and how universal it is, what would it be?
Hopefully we have made a movie that people are going to find funny and something that can be a shared experience for the entire family in a way that's emotionally satisfying as a story, but also works as a comedy and captures the spirit of the holidays all kind of rolled into one.

Do you think it's important that children believe in Santa?
It's important for the economy.

Are you doing "Old School 2?"
You know what? There was talk of it. Then I haven't heard about it for the longest time, so I don't know if it kind of derailed or not.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Interviews with Director Jon Favreau, Bob Newhart, and Zooey Deschanel
"Elf" Photo Gallery
"Elf" Trailer, Credits and Websites

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