‘A Christmas Story’ Bully Explains How The Sequel Was Ultimately Made

Today HBO Max released one of the most anticipated films of the holiday season –A Christmas Story Christmasa sequel to the classic 1983 film A Christmas story that TBS goes on loop for 24 hours over Christmas. You’ll shoot your eye out, your tongue frozen on a flag pole, the floor lamp – the film spawned so many classic moments.

So why on earth did it take 39 years to make a sequel?

Zack Ward, who played infamous bully Scut Farkus in the original and is returning for the new, says attempts have been made over the years to reunite the original cast in a new movie. But none had the same spirit as the original.

“There were a lot of attempts to do a sequel, but the scripts were just trying to mimic what happened in the first one. They felt corny. And Peter Billingsley [who starred as Ralphie in the original] had to be attached and at the heart of it. Either he was busy or the script wasn’t good, so he pulled it off,” says Ward.

What made the difference for the HBO Max version? “The script. Nick Schenk picked it up, and his version had the heart of the first without being trite. He wasn’t trying to mimic the exact same beats and moments as the original. I didn’t have the felt like it was a faint facsimile of the original,” says Ward.

In fact, there have been a few attempts at new Christmas story movies over the years, but it was hard to count them as true successors.

There was one made in 1994, called A summer storybut the cast was different – kids grow up, after all, and the original was made in 1983. The sequel took place just months after the premiere, so the child stars were all a decade too old. Summer received decent reviews but failed to garner a large following. another movie, A Christmas Story 2, a 2012 film, was not based on the same Jean Shepherd stories as the original and sequel, and again relied on a new cast. Reviews were poor.

The new HBO Max film features Billingsley, Ward, and a few other original cast members, giving it a strong connection to the first. It is set 30 years after the original, in 1973. Ralphie’s mother is a widow and he brings his family home to visit her for Christmas.

“They’re all the same people as the original, but they’ve grown up, with more experience, just like we are in real life,” says Ward. “I think that’s the genius of the original movie – you can watch it as a kid or an adult and enjoy it. It grows with you and you see different things as you grow.

When you have your breakout role as a kid, it can be hard to get recognition for anything else. Billingsley will always be recognized as Ralphie, and Ward is still identified with Farkus, although he has done a lot since then in his career, including roles on Lost, Mike and Molly and Philadelphia is always sunny. He recently wrote, directed and produced the film Patsy Lee and the Guardians of the 5 Kingdoms with George Takei.

But he knows that Farkus remains his claim to fame, and he’s made good use of it to raise money for causes close to his heart. He makes annual appearances at the Cleveland home where A Christmas story takes place, and he’s raised money for bullying prevention efforts (yes, he appreciates the irony) and, currently, for the Alzheimer’s Association. His father has the disease, and Ward says, “It’s brutal. Alzheimer’s sucks, and if possible, we should beat it and get rid of it.

He will appear in Cleveland on December 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a month after Storyis the first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *