Turns out that even Wet Bandits are susceptible to serious burns. In a new interview with People magazine, Oscar-winning Goodfellas star Joe Pesci shared details about some of the injuries he received during the making of the Christmastime classics, Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. "It was a nice change of pace to do that particular type of slapstick comedy," the actor said via e-mail about the blockbuster sequel, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. "But the Home Alone movies were a more physical type of comedy, therefore, a little more demanding."
Certainly, the cast and crew of Lost in New York — including returning star Macaulay Culkin and returning director, Chris Columbus — faced the demanding task of ensuring that the second film would live up to the standards (and box office grosses) of the previous installment. That meant that young Kevin McAllister's rematch with bumbling burglars Harry (Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) had to turn up the heat in terms of comedic stuntwork. In one memorable scene, Harry's head is once again set on fire in a direct callback to the first Home Alone. And Pesci says that scene left a mark on his skull.
"In addition to the expected bumps, bruises, and general pains that you would associate with that particular type of physical humor, I did sustain serious burns to the top of my head during the scene where Harry's hat is set on fire," Pesci told People, noting that he performed the stuntwork for the entirety of that scene. "I was fortunate enough to have professional stuntmen do the real heavy stunts," he added.
When he wasn't nursing a burned noggin, Pesci remembered having a great time on set with his co-stars — although he deliberately avoided getting too friendly with Culkin. "I intentionally limited my interactions with him to preserve the dynamic between his character, Kevin, and my character Harry," the actor explained, while also calling the then-12-year-old star a "really sweet kid." And while sequels can sometimes feel like cash-grabs, Pesci felt that everyone involved was committed to making a great movie. "[Lost in New York had] the same, if not more, energy and enthusiasm as the original."
Lost in New York was also the final bow for the original trio of Culkin, Stern and Pesci, even as the Home Alone franchise continued on for four additional sequels and spin-offs — most recently 2021's Home Sweet Home Alone. Meanwhile, Pesci took an extended break from the big screen for much of the 2000s, and only just returned for his first major movie role in Martin Scorsese's 2019 drama, The Irishman. He's currently set to star opposite Pete Davidson in the upcoming Peacock comedy, Bupkus.
Asked whether he'd consider making a grand return to the Home Alone series, Pesci sounds like he's not interested in getting another hot scalp treatment.
"While you never say never, I think that it would be difficult to replicate not only the success but also the overall innocence of the originals," the actor told People. "It's a different time now; attitudes and priorities have changed in 30 years."
Here's another sign of the changing times: 30 years ago, Donald Trump's surprise Lost in New York cameo made audiences laugh. But three decades — and one controversial presidential administration later — Home Alone fans are now finding ways to edit him out of the movie. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment in 2020, Columbus said that Trump essentially forced his way into the film.
"We wanted to shoot in the Plaza Hotel," the director said, referring to the famous property that Trump owned at the time. "We got wind back that the only way we could get into the Plaza Hotel was if Donald Trump had a cameo in the movie. I was like, 'Are you kidding me?'" [The manager] said, 'No, he wants a cameo. He wants a line.' So we devise this thing cause we needed to shoot in the Plaza. My producers were like, 'You can cut it. We'll shoot it. And we'll cut it later where this is the only way we get in the Plaza.'"
"We previewed the movie for the first time in Chicago," Columbus continued. "And when that moment came up, it [got] the loudest laughter and cheers. That was literally a high point for the audience. I mean, no one had a crystal ball. They couldn’t know what was going to happen today."
Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York are both streaming on Disney+