Bob Newhart Predicted Elf Would Be a Holiday Classic Early on: 'Will [Ferrell] Had Such Charm'
"I read the script and I said, 'They're going to be showing this every Christmas, I guarantee,'" the comedy legend recalls
Speaking to PEOPLE, the comedy legend, 90, recalls predicting that the movie would be a smash hit the first time he laid eyes on David Berenbaum’s script.
“They sent me a script. I knew Will was doing it and I think I knew Ed Asner was in it,” Newhart says. “I read the script and I said to [his wife] Ginnie, ‘This is going to be a perennial. This is going to be like Miracle on 34th Street. They’re going to be showing this every Christmas, I guarantee.'”
According to Newhart, Ferrell and director Jon Favreau “weren’t given [enough] credit.”
“It could have been a terrible movie. It could have been just a stupid person who thinks they’re still an elf,” he says. “But Will had such charm and Jon Favreau shot it in such a way that people just love it. They just love it!”
Plus, Newhart adds, he earned a whole new group of (much younger) fans.
“I got a lot more mail in crayon,” he jokes.
In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes last year, Ferrell, 52, and Favreau, 53, looked back fondly on the film, which was filmed in New York City and released just a few years after 9/11.
“It was a really challenging time and it was nice to bring a nice breath of innocence to the world, and especially to the city, at that time,” Ferrell said. “I’m really proud of it. If it’s ever in a theater or playing on television, I love to check in on it. And I can tell through social media that it’s something that people have made a tradition of … and that really makes me happy. It’s the best part of the job.”