Home Alone is one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time – and it’s one that you can watch with your whole family.
No matter how many times you see it, there’s almost always something you haven’t seen before or a detail that jumps out at you that you never noticed.
If you fancy looking at it this year with a pair of fresh eyes and some insider knowledge, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Christmas classic…
Did you know that the entire premise for the film came from writer John Hughes’ anxiety about potentially forgetting to bring one of his children on holidays?
While making a list of things he’d better not forget, he jokingly added the children to the list which led him to think about what might happen if such a scenario occurred in real life!
And so, a comedy-gold script was born.
Finding The Perfect ‘Kevin’
John Hughes was already familiar with Macauley Culkin’s work having cast him in the 1989 comedy Uncle Buck. He recommended the talented youngster to director Christopher Columbus, saying he would be perfect to play Kevin McAllister in Home Alone.
However, Columbus wanted to conduct a proper audition process and saw hundreds of children either in person or via tape. Eventually, he admitted defeat and went with Hughes’ first choice!
The Famous Scream
Would Home Alone have done as well as it did if Macauley Culkin hadn’t placed his hands on his face and done his trademark scream?
Well, probably, but the posters wouldn’t have been nearly as good!
In an interview with EW, director Chris Columbus said that Culkin was simply supposed to apply the cologne and scream. Instead, he left his hands on his face imitating the world-famous ‘Scream’ painting by Edvard Munch.
The idea was so good, it stayed in the film and the rest, as they say, is history.
Bad Guy Inspiration
Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, who play Harry and Marv, had already worked before in a 1982 drama called I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can.
Their hilarious banter and chemistry didn’t come by accident though. In a 2015 Facebook post, Stern shared that he and Pesci found inspiration for their dastardly alter egos in cartoon characters like Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny as well as comedy legends Laurel and Hardy.
No Swearing Allowed
As Home Alone was branded a children’s movie there was no swearing allowed in it. Not easy for a Scorsese favourite like Joe Pesci!
In fact, Pesci found it so difficult not to swear during scenes where he was being thrown around and tortured that he made up the gibberish language we hear in the movie today.
Scarred For Life
In the scene where Marv and Harry finally catch up to Kevin and hang him by the jumper from a coat hook, Harry threatens to bite off one of the boy’s fingers.
However, in rehearsals for that scene Joe Pesci actually made good on his threat and bit one of Culkin’s fingers, breaking the skin and leaving him with a permanent scar!
The 30-year-old Stunt Double
The whole movie revolves around Kevin McCallister doing some pretty wild things, so it was probably a good idea to get a stunt double for things like sledding down the stairs and ziplining to a treehouse.
Those feats of daring were performed by a stuntman named Larry Nicholas who, despite being thirty years old, was about as tall as a nine-year-old boy.
A Family Affair
Macauley isn’t the only Culkin that appears in Home Alone. His brother Kieran Culkin also stars in the film as Fuller, the bed-wetter who loves his soda!
But while his older brother has mostly shunned the lure of Hollywood, Culkin the Younger has forged an impressive acting career for himself, most notably as the weasel-y but utterly compelling Roman Roy in the monster hit show, Succession.
Candy Comes Cheap
Movie actor John Candy, star of Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains and Automobiles was happy to help his buddy John Hughes out with a cameo on Home Alone as Gus Polinski, the travelling polka player. However, due to his hectic work schedule, he could only offer one day on set, meaning all his scenes were shot over 23 hours.
The intense shoot left everyone exhausted but delighted by what they had captured. Candy even agreed to work for scale, meaning he earned less than the actor who played the pizza boy in the film. He also improvised the majority of his lines.
What a legend!
For lots more behind-the-scenes goss on the making of this iconic Christmas classic, check out the Home Alone episode of The Movies That Made Us on Netflix.