‘A Christmas Story’: Scut Farkus Actor Zack Ward Talked About Getting Recognized as the Neighborhood Bully

by Allison Hambrick

A Christmas Story actor Zack Ward opened up about fans recognizing him from his childhood role as the cruel Scut Farkus.

“I get recognized as Scut Farkus quite a bit,” Ward revealed to TODAY. “I kind of look very similar to how I did when I was a kid, and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. The best part of it, to be honest, is that the way people talk to me is that I’m their long-lost uncle that they haven’t seen in ages and they’re just so happy to embrace and welcome back into the family. I’ve never met these people, but they kind of treat me like Norm from Cheers and want to give me a big hug.”

Though the film came out in 1983, A Christmas Story remains highly popular. The bonafide Christmas classic is beloved by audiences, so much so that TBS airs it for 24 hours straight every time the holiday rolls around. Among many memorable scenes is a fight between Farkus and protagonist Ralphie Parker. The victim emerges triumphant, but instead of feeling happy or proud, Parker breaks down in tears after bloodying up Farkus.

Ward also unpacked the behind-the-scenes process behind filming the iconic moment.

 “They don’t let children just punch each other in the face on camera,” explained Ward. “That’s not how the film industry works. There was a danger aspect to it because he had these things called idiot strings. That’s when you had string that ran through your jacket and held your mittens on, so you didn’t lose them. And so when he’s punching me, he’s missing me. But the mittens are slapping the crap out of me and they’re frozen solid. So when you see bright red cheeks, that’s me being slapped on camera.”

‘A Christmas Story’ Star Talks “Movie Magic” on Set

Additionally, Ward discussed how the film created a Christmas wonderland even though the surrounding environment was less than festive.

“We went to go visit set one day, me and my mom,” said Ward. “And there was no snow in Cleveland. It was completely dry. I’m sure everybody out there who knows what cold, dead grass looks like — it’s brown and gross, and lots of garbage bags floating around Cleveland back in the day. And we turn around the corner and the house, the A Christmas Story house, is absolutely covered in fake snow. And the tree has got icicles glistening from every single leaf or bough or branch.”

For Ward, this is a fond memory. The actor recalled: “It was the first time I really witnessed movie magic and it just took my breath away. Even to this day, it’s one of my favorite memories.