Will Ferrell on why he feared Elf would be his last movie – and having fun twisting a Dickens Christmas classic with Ryan Reynolds in new film Spirited | Ents & Arts News

Christmas is just around the corner, and it is time to get into the “spirit” of the season with festive films!

Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer spoke to Sky News about their new film, Spirited, which reinvents Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a modern spin, and also stars Ryan Reynolds.

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in "Spirited," coming soon to Apple TV+.
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Pic: Apple TV+

A version of the story we’ve never seen before

Spirited is the latest adaptation of the classic Dickens story A Christmas Carol starring Will Ferrell as the ghost of Christmas present and Octavia Spencer as his love interest. But Ferrell told Sky News it’s a version of the story we’ve not seen before.

He said: “Sean Anders and John Morris, our writer and director team – Sean always has loved A Christmas Carol and he watches it every year, but they were talking about it and they said, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how they planned the haunt every year, like what goes on behind the scenes and wouldn’t that be a funny version?'”

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in "Spirited," coming soon to Apple TV+.
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Pic: Apple TV+

Ferrell reckons they wouldn’t have been interested if the film hadn’t put a new twist on the classic tale

“I think that’s the only way we would have done it, it had to be original – the fact that it’s a musical, the fact that it’s also irreverent… We even call out the fact that there’s been so many versions and we make a joke of that,” he said.

“All of those elements thrown in there were the reason why we wanted to do this.”

Octavia Spencer in "Spirited," coming soon to Apple TV+.
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Pic: Apple TV+

It gave Octavia Spencer the chance to do something she doesn’t usually

“I got to tell you, Christmas, you know, from October 31st, Halloween to January 2nd, that’s my favourite time of year,” the actress said.

“So it wasn’t hard in the summer in Boston getting in the Christmas spirit because there were Christmas trees and everything everywhere – it was amazing.

“But the thing about our job is very few of us are ever working around Christmas, so it was kind of fun to do a holiday film because I seldom get to do anything around the holiday.”

Buddy the Elf visits Asda
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The classic 2003 film Elf was remastered for the supermarket’s Christmas advert. Pic: Asda

Will Ferrell enjoys his association with Christmas thanks to his leading role in Elf – which this year has been repurposed for Asda’s Christmas advert

“I mean, it is, dare I say, the gift that keeps on giving!” he quipped.

“No, I’m extremely flattered – when I think and talk about Elf and think about from when we shot the movie, and I literally had moments on that set thinking this could be the last movie I ever make in the sense that: ‘Oh, is anyone going to think this is funny? Is this just going to be weird? A guy running around as an elf?’

“And to see where it’s gone to and how it’s become part of the zeitgeist for holidays, whether it’s in the States or the UK, it’s incredible.”

Octavia Spencer and Will Ferrell interview on the upcoming Apple TV+ film "Spirited".
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Octavia Spencer and Will Ferrell spoke to Sky News about new festive flick, Spirited

Ferrell’s also a huge fan of Eurovision, but says he could never choose between the song contest and the festive season

“Oh, I mean, they’re both exciting times, right? There’s colourful costumes… That’s a hard decision,” he said.

“I don’t know, that’s Sophie’s Choice.”

Spirited is streaming on Apple TV + from today