In the scene in question, Buddy walks into the women’s changing room at Jovie’s work and hears her singing Ella Fitzgerald’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. “It had to be he would use everything that was in the store.”. Gimbels, where Buddy (the elf the movie is about) works, used to be a real department store in NYC, but it closed in the '80s; the Textile Building was used as the exterior of Gimbels in the movie instead. Take the Quiz: Elf. “It had to feel handmade. It was another case of very short turn-around. ‘Gimbels Dept Store’, where Buddy redecorates the toy department overnight, is the Textile Building, 295 5th Avenue at the northeast corner of East 30th Street, embellished with CGI. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. “He had a vision very clearly of a holiday classic. This quiz is about the holly jolly Christmas comedy Elf. She added: “It's funny because obviously everyone knows it's not appropriate to walk in the girls' bathroom when someone's showering, but he's so believable as this guileless elf. Article by caitlin tormey. It is up to Buddy, and his new friend, Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), a department store holiday elf at Gimbels, to find that old spirit, rekindle it and save Christmas. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? “He said he wasn't a singer, so I wasn't expecting much,” she said. In the scene in question, Buddy walks into … 36. They knew that I was a singer, so they put that in to be my special thing that Buddy could discover I was good at.”, Deschanel was surprised by Ferrell’s singing talent. Smith sketched out a model in his hotel room, which required sourcing antique dolls and building a replica fireplace. But he said the actual fight between the characters had to be done in one take. ELF FILMING LOCATIONS Little does he know, Buddy (Will Ferrell) is a human living in an elf’s world. Screenwriter David Berenbaum is from Philadelphia, and in real life, Gimbel's was a prominent Philadelphia department store, and sponsor of the country's first Thanksgiving parade held in that city in 1920. Warning: Spoilers ahead for the movie "Elf." This is not uncmomon in the world of films as the apartment building roofs in Ghostbusters and The Devil's Advocate were also given the CGI treatment. “I remember [director] Jon Favreau telling me that they were catering it to whoever played the part,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly. Gimbels was a real department store chain – at one point the largest in the USA – until its stores closed in 1987. Jim Carrey was initially eyed to play Buddy the elf in Elf. Elf (2003) ... on the corner of 5th Avenue and East 30th Street was computer generated to look like the original Gimbel department store. But being 6’3” Buddy cannot ignore the differences between himself and the elves. Inspired by a sarcastic remark from a security guard, Buddy heads to a local Gimbels department store, where the manager mistakes him for an employee. “When you come in the next morning, it has to be like ‘Holy crap, he did this? Higbee’s department store was the stage for three scenes in A Christmas Story. The final shot of the Mona Lisa in the film was created from a graphic manufactured to read as an Etch A Sketch screen when placed onto the actual toy and captured on camera. Elf proved to be a big break for Zooey Deschanel, who played down-on-Christmas department store elf Jovie, whom Buddy falls in love with. The skyline Buddy builds at Gimbel's contains many Philadelphia skyscrapers, including One Liberty Place. Entertainment Weekly may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. “We had Legos, and [Favreau] said, ‘How about a whole city made of Legos and then they destroy it?’ I was like ‘Yes! It couldn’t just be a staple gun; it had to be a hammer and nails. But … The film has so many standout scenes such as Elf's first sighting of a department store santa who he innocently mistakes for the real thing, the duet with Zooey Deschanel in the shower room, but the climax of the film however sentimental it may be, gets me every time. 87 of 93 found this interesting After climbing into Santa’s sack of gifts as a baby, he was brought to the North Pole and raised as an elf. Find a HomeSense store near you..'}} The second scene is the parade just before Ralphie goes to see Santa. © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. 10 Reasons to Watch Elf. (Hint: An affinity for elf culture is a good start. The director was heavily inspired by Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), which used forced perspective in innovative ways to depict leprechauns, and he shot Elf’s North Pole scenes in a similar manner. It had to be very particular because Buddy would be a perfectionist.”, Buddy covers nearly every inch of available space in paper decorations of his own making: snowflakes and paper chains and more. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Here are all 70 puppies competing in Puppy Bowl XVII, The best books to keep you warm this January. When David Berenbaum's spec script first … You have to get extra things in order to peg it in there to fill up the void to make it a consistent background. Zooey Deschanel, who costars as department store employee Jovie, is now revealing the truth behind one of the most famous scenes in the movie.The enduring scene … Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. The first is the opening scene in which Ralphie first spies the Red Ryder BB Gun. “Jon came up with the Lite-Brite thing. Miles Finch: Hey, jackweed, I get more action in a week than you've had in your entire life. Eschewing CGI was part of the aesthetic. With Christmas just around the corner, The Independent’s Isobel Lewis ranked every Netflix Original Christmas romcom from least to most ridiculous, here. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. We see the elves making them in Santa’s workshop at the start of the film, and later Buddy uses them in his decorating, drawing a replica of the Mona Lisa on one he hangs on a department store Christmas tree. He joins in, performing from the other side of the curtain rail and giving Jovie a fright. Elf follows Buddy, a human who, after learning he was adopted and raised by Santa's elves, heads to New York City to find his biological father (Caan, 80). New York film locations from the movie Elf starring Will Ferrell. It had to be grounded in heartfelt honesty, but still in a weird, fantastical situation. “We didn’t want any of the stuff that [Buddy] did in any part of the movie to feel digitized or fake, so it had to look like he was really doing it, but also be witty,“ Smith says. The scene in the Will Ferrell Christmas favorite Elf where Zooey Deschanel’s character Jovie sings in the shower was added just for her. Smith says he took cues from the special’s modular white backdrops, as well as from Nordic architecture, to establish a baseline for his designs. "You sit on a throne of lies!" New Line Cinema, Credit: This design presented a similar challenge as the Legos. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. The highly festive store is heavily featured throughout the rest of "Elf," but viewers may not have realized that Gimbels was a real department store in New York City that closed in 1986. Smith says the cotton batting they used was one of the easiest pieces to source. “The thing we wanted with that was to make sure we saw him being meticulous. Everett Collection, Credit: Most memorably, in the course of a single night, Buddy transforms Gimbels department store from a run-of-the-mill Santa’s workshop photo op into an over-the-top display of decorations crafted from various items in the store, including paper, pillows, Legos, Lite-Brites, Etch A Sketches, and more. He remembers scouting with director Jon Favreau and the art department to determine which items Buddy might construct in the decorating montage. That is so brilliant,’ but then I turned and looked at my art director and he was ashen.”. “A Lite-Brite comes with a certain number of colors. “I wanted them to feel like actual skyscrapers and be the right colors of the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building or whatever,” Smiths recalls. he tells this Santa. Call me elf one more time. Our parental guide and scene content help parents decide if it is for kids. It had to feel like Buddy actually did it,” Smith says. Advertisement. I didn’t fully appreciate the complexity of it at the time. The film used the Textile Building on Fifth Avenue for the wide exterior shots of Gimbels, and the decorations were reportedly added using CGI. In the scene, Deschanel's character Jovie, who works at the department store Gimbels, is seen taking a shower in the restroom after her apartment's water is shut off. Because the buildings needed to be to scale and stand at 5 or 6 feet tall to really register on screen, the team had to build the designs from scratch rather than relying on prepackaged Lego sets. Of course there's a big scene involving Buddy's confrontation with the department store Santa Claus, who (clever elf that he is) Buddy instantly spots as an imposter. The 2003 Christmas movie starred Deschanel as department store employee Jovie, opposite Will Ferrell ’s Buddy the Elf. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. “But his dad [Roy Lee Ferrell Jr] is a great musician. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Will Ferrell says he thought Elf would ruin his career, {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}, The story behind that shower singing scene in Elf, Bobby Brown Jr, son of singer Bobby Brown, found dead in LA aged 28, Will Smith tears up during James Avery tribute on Fresh Prince reunion, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. I love that moment.”, A decade and a half later, Elf has become a perennial favorite — a Christmas movie that families watch again and again alongside the likes of White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and yes, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. While filming on location in New York, Favreau paid a visit to Macy’s and told Smith he wanted their windows to look as grand as the famous department store’s … The idea for that particular set piece came quite late in the process. But the second-best way to spread Christmas cheer is to really go to town on the decorations. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. In Elf it was digitally altered to look like Gimbels. Elf - Due to a mix-up at an adoption centre at Christmas, human baby 'Buddy' is transported to the North Pole and raised by Santa's elves. It took weeks and weeks for that alone.”, When it came time to shoot the scene, the department had cut and crafted hundreds of paper decorations, all of which had an individual feel. Who doesn't love Elf ? The department store takes up a whole block in Manhattan. But I had a cabaret act at the time and I was performing a lot. “We wanted it to feel homemade, and it had to feel improvised,” production designer Rusty Smith tells EW. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. {{headers.meta.description || 'Discover unique decorative ideas for your home. Elf star Zooey Deschanel has revealed that the scene where she sings in the shower was not in the original script of the film. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. “That was on the side street of the Empire State Building. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. The film has so many standout scenes such as Elf's first sighting of a department store santa who he innocently mistakes for the real thing, the duet with Zooey Deschanel in the shower room, but the climax of the film however sentimental it may be, gets me every time. With only 15 days from conception to shooting, Smith and his team had to source Legos from around North America to ensure they had enough of the colors they needed. We needed extra parts for that as well,” Smith says. “Each one takes a person. And we have to show them packaged, so it was complex because they had to be ready to sell and then we had to also prep them ahead of time for what the aftermath was.”. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? “It gave us a background for the world that was based on something that was kind of real, but fantastical in its own way,” he explains. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. Buddy the elf could have fought a fake Santa Claus inside a Macy's in the movie Elf, but didn't.. It was nostalgic toys and stuff like that.”, Below, in honor of Elf’s crystal anniversary, Smith takes EW through each of Buddy’s unique Christmas creations and reveals just what it took from to bring his winter wonderland to life. The 2003 Christmas movie starred Deschanel as department store employee Jovie, opposite Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf. Elf may be 15 years old now, but it was hardly the first movie in the genre of "childlike hero lost in the big city." “From day one, [Favreau] wanted to make something that would be a Christmas classic,” Smith says of the movie’s enduring appeal. Offers may be subject to change without notice. We took an elevation of each one of these very specific, iconic New York buildings, and we drafted it. Deschanel and … At the store's North Pole, he meets Jovie, an unenthusiastic employee with whom he is instantly smitten. But the sequence in the department store had to feel different. This movie is destined to become a classic that will no doubt be enjoyed during the holidays for years to come. I've got houses in L.A., Paris and Vail. The original plan was to use sped-up animation to show Buddy actually creating the sketch, but it didn’t make the final cut. Buddy turns to a colorful piece of nostalgia to create his cheery “Welcome Santa” sign: the Lite-Brite. However, there was still a little misinformation associated with this scene and its fictionalized version of Gimbels Department Store. “Like when he’s cutting up the snowflakes and it’s blowing all the paper cutting past him — that was a tricky bit to coordinate with a blower and with special effects.”, Buddy’s most astonishing creation is the scale model of New York City’s skyline that he builds entirely out of Legos. I should've known he'd be secretly good!”, Read our full mailing list consent terms here. Another classic toy that gets a lot of play in Elf is the Etch A Sketch. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. “We were all spitballing,” he recalls. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. Some websites have claimed that the exterior was a digitally-altered version of Macy’s Department Store on 34th Street, opposed to the Textile Building on 30th Street. Smith says this was the art department’s greatest challenge, simply because it required so much individual work: “Basically the set decoration department started right away making stuff homemade, so while people would be on the phone, they’d be sitting at the desk cutting up paper, cutting out little dolls, cutting out little curlicues to make snowflakes. He was very good at guiding this film down that path and crafting that. That room was actually in the Empire State Building, not in our Gimbels location, and we had to go around the corner and pop it off as quickly as we possibly could. This duet wasn't in the original script but was tailored to Deschanel's skill set. HomeSense has a fine selection of Bed and Bath & Home Décor products at great prices. !’ In order to make it that fantastical, it took a lot of hands.”, One of Favreau’s guiding principles for the team was doing as much as they could with practical effects and camera tricks. Using the illuminated pegs, Buddy spells out a snow-covered welcome sign in huge blue and red letters. Actor sang Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. We had to draw it up because we needed to know how tall each Lego was, and we needed to figure out how many Legos we would need per building.” Smith cites this set piece as his favorite in the film because of the ingenuity involved and the fact that it allowed them to incorporate a timeless children’s toy in the narrative. ), Buddy tears the stuffing from a stack of pillows and turns it into snow, which he nails to the roof of Santa’s house to lend it that extra air of authenticity. While filming on location in New York, Favreau paid a visit to Macy’s and told Smith he wanted their windows to look as grand as the famous department store’s festive Christmas facade. The Lego skyline required five sculptors to build the structures over the course of two weeks. Buddy the Elf may not be a child in the traditional sense of the word, but his experience of the world of New York City is entirely reminiscent of a child let loose in a candy store. “The mantra was that it had to be ludicrous,” Smith says. Elf - a Will Ferrell Christmas comedy movie that gets gushed over every year. Somebody’s got to be on Lite-Brite assignment. Though they’re not part of Buddy’s decorations, Smith says he’s particularly proud of the Gimbels front windows, which Walter (James Caan) passes on his way to work and where he sees Buddy fast asleep. Hint: an affinity for elf department store scene culture is a great musician I should 've known he 'd be secretly!... Fill up the void to make sure we saw him being meticulous Ryder BB Gun elf department store scene membership scheme, Premium. Revealed that the scene where she sings in the department store was the stage three... Zooey Deschanel has revealed that the scene where she sings in the process saw him being.... 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