- “A Christmas Story” star Zack Ward spoke with Insider about filming the holiday classic.
- Ward played neighborhood bully Scut Farkus in the 1983 Christmas film.
- The actor praised director Bob Clark for protecting the child stars during filming.
Zack Ward’s character in “A Christmas Story” may have wreaked havoc on the neighborhood kids through his incessant bullying, but the actor told Insider in a recent interview that when the cameras weren’t rolling, the atmosphere on set was pleasant and “enjoyable.”
Ward played bully Scut Farkus in the 1983 holiday film, which also featured numerous other child actors, including Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, Ian Petrella as Randy, and Yano Anaya as Scut’s henchman, Grover Gill. According to Ward, director Bob Clark made sure all the children on set felt comfortable both on and off camera.
“He literally would walk up to me when I was messing up a line, and he’d just turn me around away from the cameras, and we’d sit there and talk. And we’d run our lines, he’d run them with me, and then just make it into a game,” Ward explained. “You know, ‘Say it faster, say it slower. Say it louder, say it quieter. Do it super fast. Do it super slow. Say it silly, say it like a monster.’ And so I lost all my nerves and I would then get the lines right, and then he’d say, ‘Action.'”
“A Christmas Story” was Ward’s first-ever feature film, and the actor told Insider that Clark “protected the childhood” of his young stars, many of whom were also in the early stages of their acting careers.
“Yes, we were professional actors, and yes, we were making a movie, but we were still kids,” Ward said. “I think this is the thing about the movie that really pops, is that the kid actors all have a very genuine quality to them. Sometimes it’s awkward and uncomfortable and goofy and odd, but that’s what makes it feel genuine.”
Per Ward, Clark “ensured that we felt comfortable to be ourselves in front of the camera. Cause that’s what he wanted.”
Since its release in November 1983, “A Christmas Story” has become a holiday classic. A sequel to the original, called “A Christmas Story Christmas,” was released on HBO Max earlier this year, and follows a now-adult Ralphie (Peter Billingsley, reprising his role from the original) as he travels home to Indiana with his family after the death of his father, “The Old Man.”
Ward, Anaya, Petrella, Scott Schwartz, and R.D. Robb also appear in the sequel, reprising their roles as Scut, Grover, Randy, Flick, and Schwartz, respectively.