Ottawa

Ottawa woman's pizza box-folding skills make cameo in Oscar-winner Parasite

Breanna Gray still can't believe the pizza box-folding abilities she honed as a teenager are now part of movie history. 

11-year-old video of Breanna Gray featured in best picture-winner

An old video clip of Breanna Gray filmed when she worked at an Ottawa pizzeria folding pizza boxes was used in the Oscar-winning film Parasite. (Universal Pictures/YouTube)

Breanna Gray still can't believe the pizza box-folding abilities she honed as a teenager are now part of movie history. 

The Korean hit Parasite, winner of four Academy Awards including best director and best picture on Sunday, uses part of a YouTube video Gray's brother shot of her slinging pies when she was 19.

The 50-second video shows Gray folding Gabriel Pizza boxes faster than a hungry person can order a pepperoni, mushroom and onion pizza with extra cheese.

Now a 30-year-old mother, Gray estimates she can still fold a box in about three seconds.

The video was first posted in 2015, a few years after her brother filmed it. As soon as it went online, Reddit boosted views. It's now been streamed more than 1.4 million times.

"It's just nuts," Gray said by phone at her house in Cobden, Ont., Tuesday.

Watch Breanna Gray's viral video:

Producers of Parasite approached Gray a few months before the movie's premiere to see if she would license the video to them.

Gray agreed and said producers paid her for it. She didn't want to say how much.

"They were good about it," was all Gray said on the subject of money.

In Parasite, the main protagonists watch Gray's video to hone their own box-making skills.

"They gave me a very basic understanding of how it would be used in the movie," she said. "I had no idea it was going to be a big movie."

Watch Gray's video in Parasite:

 

It wasn't until she read about Parasite winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May that Gray said she realized it might be a hit.

"Then boom, it's winning the best Oscar you can. It's crazy."

The South Korean thriller is the first film in a language other than English to win best picture.

While Gray has seen her clip in Parasite, she still hasn't seen the rest of the film.

"That's on our to-do list tonight," she said.

An Ottawa woman found fame online after her video folding pizza boxes at lightning speed went viral online, even catching the attention of the producers from the Oscar winning movie Parasite. We get the story of her unexpected cameo in the hit film. 5:10

About the Author

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Ottawa. Previously, she worked as a reporter in Winnipeg and as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.

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