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A CHRISTMAS STORY, from left: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella, Peter Billingsley, 1983. ©MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

Image Credit: Yana Blajeva

It has been nearly four decades since Zack Ward made history as the quintessential yellow-eyed bully Scut Farkus in the beloved holiday classic A Christmas Story. The award-winning actor spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife to explain why it took some time before he reprised his role in the new A Christmas Story Christmas out now on HBO Max.

Zack Ward
Zack reprised his iconic role in the new A Christmas Story Christmas out now on HBO Max. (Yana Blajeva)

“I loved what they did with the scripts. There were multiple versions, multiple options prior to this movie that had come and gone. There was an idea for a TV series and a movie, but the scripts weren’t right. And the heart of it wasn’t there. It needed to be [writer] Jean Shepherd and [director] Bob Clark’s vision, extended,” Zack said while promoting his partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness and money to fight Alzheimer’s.

“It couldn’t simply be more wacky and silliness. It couldn’t just be jingle all the way, you know? It’s not that type of movie and if you did that, you disrespect the original film,” the Transformers star continued.

“I was so excited about the script that Nick Schenk wrote. He’s a writer from Gran Torino and he’s done a bunch of movies for Clint Eastwood. So you may think that in some ways, his voice would not gel with the Jean Shephard original, but there was something so incredibly honest about this movie. It still follows in those footsteps and it was great to see who the original characters were and how they grew up. And those actors all embodying that beautifully.”

Zack Ward
Zack Ward played one of the greatest villains in movie history, Scut Farkus, in ‘A Christmas Story’ (Everett Collection)

Zack explained why he still sits down, typically alone, and watches the film every few years. “As a filmmaker myself, it is a clinic. As a writer, it is just an education on how everybody lives in the same universe. And as someone who loves the film, it’s just my touchstone with people that I miss — Bob Clark. He was a great sweet man. He changed my entire life. And so watching that privately is me saying ‘hi’ to Bob,” he said.

The talented actor also opened up about his partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, which he teamed up with after his father was diagnosed with the disease in 2020.

He revealed why it’s been a “very difficult, painful, overwhelming experience.” Zack said, “As I was getting completely overwhelmed and emotionally and mentally broken by this process, I chose to reach out and put this out on Twitter so that other people would not feel like they were also alone. The Alzheimer’s Association got in touch with me after I had tweeted out about it and they said, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of services that we can provide to help. What can we do?’ And they started talking to me about it. They’re incredible. They’ve got groups in local chapters all over the country that can supply you with medical advice, financial advice, legal advice, support, infrastructure, places where you can go and talk to people who are going through the same situation.”

In order to help show support, Zack is providing fans with an incredible opportunity to meet him in person. Zack will be at the real Christmas Story house in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, December 17th signing autographs and taking photos with fans, and holding a special screening on the 18th. We would love to set up an interview with you and Zack to share his very personal and inspiring story this holiday season.