Asner 'delighted' to play Santa in 'Elf'

Dec. 24, 2003 at 7:14 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Actor Ed Asner told reporters in New York City that playing Santa Claus in the hit big-screen comedy "Elf" was a "beautiful experience."

"Actually, this is about the eighth time I've done it, so it's really old hat," the 74-year-old actor joked with reporters recently. "All the others were preparation for this and I'm delighted that it paid off so nicely. None of them were as much fun as this."

Asner had high praise for the film's star, Will Ferrell, who plays a kind-hearted man raised by elves at the North Pole searching for his real father, a ruthless publisher, played by James Caan, who lives in New York and happens to be on Santa's naughty list.

"(Ferrell)'s a consummate actor," said the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" icon. "He does it so well that he keeps reminding me that I, too, must remain in character," he said. "Playing what the moment is: irritation, puzzlement, consternation, trying to solve the problem of his half-wittedness or his simplicity."

Asner also played Santa Claus in the television specials "The Story of Santa Claus" and "Olive, the Other Reindeer."

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