Imagining Christmas without Home Alone is like imagining Jesus naked–you could, but it would be sacrilege.
I recently watched the Home Alone episode of Netflix’s new series The Movies That Made Us and I grew a deeper appreciation for the movie after learning of just how close the world was to being robbed of it.
Warner Bros. made one of the biggest oopsies in its history when the studio capped the project at a meager $10 million budget. Writer John Hughes, who first promised he could make the movie in-budget, went behind Warner Bros. back to shop the script to 20th Century Fox in hopes of acquiring more cash, breaking legal restrictions prohibiting such a thing.
The portion of the Home Alone’s ‘The Movies That Made Us’ episode that brought me the most joy was the revelation that Joe Pesci acted like, well, Joe Pesci. Fresh off films like Goodfellas, Raging Bull, and Casino, Pesci was comfortable swearing like a sailor on set. That wasn’t as accepted when Pesci’s fellow co-star ended up being a child.
[Director] Columbus tried to curb Pesci’s four-letter-word tendency by suggesting he use the word “fridge” instead.
Pesci had such a hard time not swearing through the entire script, that he was forced to develop the now famous muttering gibberish he uses when in great pain or dire stress.
Can you imagine if Pesci was given the green light to react naturally to getting drilled in the sternum with a crow bar? Thankfully you don’t have to…
Another interesting note is that Pesci’s approach to the movie scared the shit out of Macaulay Culkin.
In order to get the most authentic performance possible, Joe Pesci did his best to avoid Macaulay Culkin on the set so that the young actor would indeed be afraid of him. And no one would blame the young actor for being a bit petrified, as he still bears the physical scar from one accidental altercation. “In the first Home Alone, they hung me up on a coat hook, and Pesci says, ‘I’m gonna bite all your fingers off, one at a time,’” Culkin recalled to Rule Forty Two. “And during one of the rehearsals, he bit me, and it broke the skin.” [via Mental Floss]
Never change, Mr. Pesci. You legendary bastard.