Zack Ward was just 13 when he filmed the Christmas classic A Christmas Story. And 34 years later, he’s still making money off of it — money he puts aside for his mom.
The actor, 47, played bully Scut Farkus in the 1983 film, about a young boy named Ralphie and his quest to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun is the perfect Christmas gift. And while the royalty checks are still coming, they’re not nearly as much as fans would expect.
“You’re going to be so disappointed,” Ward said in an interview with Page Six when asked about how much he still earns from the film, which is played on TV every holiday season. “It’s basically about $1,800 every two years … and it comes in in Canadian money because we shot in Canada.”
Though it may be in Canadian dollars, Farkus still moves it all to a special account he’s set up for his mom, in case she needs it in the future.
A Christmas Story was a moderate success when it was first released, but had become a cult hit since. Since 1997, it’s annually aired around-the-clock on TBS or TNT Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
A Broadway musical of the film was created by Dear Evan Hansen songwriters (and La La Land Oscar winners) Benj Pasek and Justin Paul in 2011. That stage show is being adapted for A Christmas StoryLive, which airs on Fox this Sunday starring Matthew Broderick, Jane Krakowski, and Maya Rudolph (among others).
All the popularity of the title hasn’t stopped Ward from being recognized.
“So many people come up to me and are like, ‘You got your ass kicked by Ralphie,’ and it makes them so happy,” he said. “I think they’re connecting to themselves as that little kid who had a bully and when they saw Scut Farkus get beaten up, they were just like, ‘Yeah!’ They greet me with a lot of love. It’s usually very kind.”
Ward also gets a lot of free beer and free hugs — though wasn’t able to keep Farkus’ iconic coonskin cap.
“It’s incredible to be a part of something that is lightning in a bottle like that,” the actor, who has since appeared on American Horror Story, added.