Why The Elf Movie Diet Was So Difficult For Will Ferrell

Ever since it came out in 2003, the holiday film "Elf" starring Will Ferrell has become required viewing for many during the Christmas season. From the talented cast (including a blonde Zooey Deschanel, sans bangs) to Ferrell's zany physical comedy to the far-fetched yet charming story of a boy raised as an elf, there's just something about the movie that has fans rewatching it year after year. However, there's one particular component that may have left you wondering how Ferrell managed to pull it off — and it has to do with his diet.

No, Ferrell didn't have to slim down or bulk up for the role, as is most often the case with actors. Instead, he decided to truly follow in his character Buddy the Elf's footsteps and dine on the exact foods Buddy favored while he was filming, as E Online reports — which basically meant sugar, sugar, and more sugar. His eating on-set covered the four food groups set out by Buddy — candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup (via YouTube). We're not talking about just the food scenes, either — even when Buddy appeared to be shoveling cotton balls into his mouth, it was actually Ferrell consuming undyed cotton candy (a.k.a. pure sugar).

The impact that Buddy the Elf's diet had on Ferrell

While consuming massive amounts of sugar may have seemed like the perfect diet when you were a kid (or if you were raised as an elf), most adults will know that it isn't exactly a recipe for ideal health. Even in the limited amount of time it took to film the project, it seems that Buddy's diet wreaked havoc on Ferrell's well-being. As Ferrell joked with The Sun, "I ingested a lot of sugar in this movie and I didn't get a lot of sleep. I constantly stayed up. But anything for the movie, I'm there."

Health issues like headaches, crashing from sugar highs, and insomnia provoked by consuming such large quantities of sugar plagued Ferrell throughout filming, but the actor was committed to bringing Buddy to life on screen, sugar and all. It seems that he made the right call, too, seeing just how impacted many were by the culinary choices in the film. In fact, if you're feeling brave, there are even parody recipes available like Maverick Baking's Buddy the Elf-inspired pasta dish, in which plain pasta is topped with chocolate syrup, mini marshmallows, M&Ms, crumbed Pop-Tarts or biscuits, and, of course, maple syrup.