‘A Christmas Story’: Scut Farkus Was Never Supposed To Be the Bully in the Film

In a crazy last-minute line swap move, A Christmas Story director Bob Clark made the bold move to make Scut Farkus the bully in the film instead of the original intention of having Grover Dill be the neighborhood menace.

A Christmas Story
Ralphie | A Christmas Story via Facebook

The iconic Christmas film, which often plays on a loop throughout the holiday, could have looked a little different if Clark stuck to Jean Shepherd’s original story, “In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash.” Shepherd wanted Grover Dill to pick on Ralphie, but Clark had other designs when he met the actors.

A Christmas Story House and Museum shared a screenshot of the original script that showed how Farkus was supposed to be Dill’s sidekick. The site also revealed why Clark swapped the roles.

The actors dictated who ended up being the bully in the film

Apparently, actors Yano Anaya who played Dill and Zack Ward who took on Farkus prompted Clark to make the switch at the last minute.

“The excerpt from the script below shows that Grover Dill was supposed to be the bully and Scut Farkus, the toadie,” according to the museum site. “This would have been more true to Jean Shepherd’s book ‘In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash’ on which A Christmas Story is based.”

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“However, on set when A Christmas Story director, Bob Clark was presented with his Grover Dill (Yano Anaya) and Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) characters he took one look at them and made a switch,” the story continued. “Clark said: “Okay, you get his lines and he gets yours.”  And just that quickly the toadie was promoted to bully.”

Indeed, the visual shared on the museum site showed how Farkus was referred to as Dill’s “toadie.” And it was Dill who was supposed to force Schwartz to scream “Uncle” when he pinned him to the ground.

Zack Ward went on 8 auditions to nab the roll of the ‘sidekick’

Ward discussed how he fell into the bully role during A Christmas Story 35 anniversary in 2018.

“I had like eight auditions for it and finally, I got the role as the sidekick [not the bully],” he told People. “I only had like two lines and I showed up on set right beside Yano Anaya and met [director] Bob Clark for the first time. He saw that I was a foot taller than Yano and said, ‘You get his lines, he gets yours.’ So Scut Farkus became the bully and I became the beloved jackass of Christmas.”

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Ward admits he continues to be recognized for the role of Farkus too. “All the time!” he said. “People have grown up with my silly face and when they meet me — I was at a tire store getting a new tire, talking to this lady and she goes, ‘Why do you seem so familiar?’ It’s bizarre because I’m not 13 years old anymore. I’m kind of a grown up.”

Despite being interviewed in 2018, Ward had some special insight into what may make A Christmas Story so special in 2020. “What brings people together is hard times, not easy times,” he commented. “So when people watch the film, they realize that family came together as a unit through the difficulties. That’s not glamorous, but that’s something that we all shared with our families and our friends. I don’t think studios really feel comfortable showing that type of reality, especially when it’s in a kids world.”