In the end, Caan was satisfied and joined the cast of “Elf” by playing Walter Hobbs – Buddy, the biological father of the adopted house elf. And while we’re pretty sure the casting directors wanted to avoid conflict, Caan’s initial reservations really made him the perfect man for the job.
In “Elf”, Walter starts off as a less than ideal father. He makes cryptic remarks about his long-lost son, disregards Buddy’s distinction, and doesn’t really want to learn more about his elven lifestyle. In short, he was very disapproving. However, the old man finally shows up – just in time for a wholesome finale where his singing helps save Christmas.
Like his character, Caan’s “Goblin” journey certainly begins with some skepticism. Both Walter and Caan must also be captivated by a lovable Will Ferrell – and once Caan shows up, he won’t be able to stop exploding. While it might be a stretch to say that Caan’s performance saved Christmas, Walter’s growth is definitely an integral part of the film. After all, there is nothing like watching a cold city dweller warm with his family at Christmas. And with the film’s continued popularity, the film has certainly entered the Christmas tradition for some viewers – with Caan’s performance making their holiday season a little healthier.
https://www.slashfilm.com/965346/james-caan-had-just-one-problem-with-will-ferrells-pitch-for-elf/ James Caan only had one problem with Will Ferrell’s trick for elves