12 Things You Might Not Know About HOME ALONE - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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12 Things You Might Not Know About HOME ALONE

He usually offers up 10 bits of trivia for you, but this time Geek Dave is thirsty for more...

1. John Hughes came up with the idea for Home Alone whilst making Uncle Buck. The scene where Macaulay Culkin looks through the letter box (or mail slot for or American friends) and spots 3 random faces, combined with his interrogation of the babysitter inspired Hughes to pen the hit comedy, and create the role of Kevin McCallister specifically for Culkin. The scene is recreated in Home Alone, but with Culkin using Daniel Stern’s face as target practice.

2. Even though Hughes specifically wrote the part of Kevin McCallister for Macaulay Culkin, director Chris Columbus still auditioned over 100 other boys to see if he could find a better fit. He couldn't.

3. Many other actors were considered as Kevin's parents, including (deep breath) Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner, Martin Sheen, Dan Aykroyd, Charles Grodin, John Travolta, Tom Skerritt, Bill Murray, James Belushi, Chevy Chase, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone (!), Christopher Lloyd, Rick Moranis, Dennis Quaid, and Jack Nicholson (phew) as Kevin's dad Peter McCallister. As for his mum Kate, well before Catherine O'Hara was offered the part (deep breath...again) Sigourney Weaver, Diane Keaton, Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stockard Channing, Marilu Henner, Carrie Fisher, Kelly McGillis, Linda Hamilton, Helen Hunt, Laura Dern, Anjelica Huston, Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bette Midler, Jessica Lange, Daryl Hannah, Debra Winger, and Annie Potts (double phew) were all considered for the role. Potentially we could've had Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher as the McCallister's, or Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver!

On top of that both Robert De Niro and Jon Lovitz were offered the part of Harry - Joe Pesci's character - but both turned it down. And Hughes had conceived the role of Uncle Frank especially for Kelsey Grammer, who was unable to accept due to prior commitments.

4. As you probably remember John Candy plays Polka King Gus Polinski in Home Alone - a role Hughes was inspired to create by one of their previous collaborations, Planes, Trains & Automobiles. All of Candy's scenes were shot in just one day as it was his only window of availability and he only agreed to do it as a favour to director Chris Columbus. Candy was on set for 23 hours continuously shooting and ended up improvising many of his lines, including the story about forgetting his son at a funeral home, because he'd barely had time to read the script he was given. He took a fee of just $414 for his days work - less than what was paid to the pizza delivery guy!

5. One of Candy's scenes, where his character offers Kate McCallister a lift home, has become the centre of an ongoing conspiracy theory. There are many, many people in the world who believe that Elvis Presley did not die in 1977. They believe he is alive and well and for reasons unknown continues to give clues to his existence in unexpected places. Well there's probably none more unexpected than Home Alone!

I kid you not, there’s a sect of Elvis Presley fans who believe the King makes a cameo appearance in the scene below. He is apparently the bearded man behind Kate McCallister...

...looks more like Al from Home Improvement to me!

6. John Hughes original script did not feature Old Man Marley, but Chris Columbus thought the story needed more heart to balance out the slapstick comedy. Columbus also intended on including on adding a bit more terror into Home Alone (like two burglars invading the house isn't enough!). He planned a dream sequence for Kevin in which the house would come to life and torment him. An entire scene was story-boarded where that evil basement furnace came to life, got up on all fours and chased Kevin round the house. Then a pair of toy nutcrackers would go after him, as other appliances and festive items joined in the nightmare. Eventually the whole scene was scrapped and deemed too expensive to film. But Columbus still kept the evil basement furnace.... 

7. Joe Pesci wanted Macaulay Culkin to think that he was really mean and imposing in real life, so Culkin would find it easier to portray his fear of Harry when filming. Pesci started off by deliberately avoiding Culkin on set, and not talking to him prior to them filming any scenes together. He then may have accidentally taken it too far, because in the scene where Harry attempts to bite off Kevin's finger, Pesci actually bit Culkin! It was an accident of course, but it did leave a scar on Culkin's finger.

8. Joe Pesci was not used to the world of family comedies, and would often drop the F-bomb whilst in character as Harry, especially during the angry outbursts. Chris Columbus encouraged him to use the word "Fridge" instead, in the hope of not spoiling any more takes. In the end it was Harry's partner Marv (played by Daniel Stern) who slipped an accidental profanity in to the finished movie. If you have the DVD then check out the scene where Marv is retrieving his boot through the doggy door, at 55:27 he lets slip an audible "Shit!"

9. One time when Daniel Stern wasn't cursing, although he'd probably have liked to, is when he has a real tarantula on his face. You may remember that he is screaming very loudly, but actually he is only miming the scream as under advisement of the spider's handler Stern was told a loud noise may scare the spider, and you wouldn't want a scared tarantula crawling on your face! The scream itself was dubbed in during post-production.

10. Buzz's girlfriend was a vision of beauty, right? Yeah, notsomuch! The reason 'she' looked "woof", as young Kevin put it, is because it was actually the art director Dan Webster's son made up to look like a girl. The reason for this was that Chris Columbus decided it would be too cruel to use an actual female, especially a girl so young, and then have the world laughing at how unattractive she was. Good point!

11. If you ever tried to track down "Angels With Filthy Souls" just so you could freak out the Pizza Delivery Boy, then you likely know that the movie doesn't exist. The footage, inspired by the James Cagney film "Angels With Dirty Faces", was shot especially for Home Alone.

12. Something that wasn't in the script was the classic line "You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more?". That was completely improvised by Macaulay Culkin.

Yeah I said '12 Things You Might Not Know About Home Alone', but it's Christmas so here's an extra bonus fact - After the fall of communism, Home Alone became the first western film to be shown in Poland, instantly becoming a national treasure. It is considered a traditional Christmas classic, and airs on national TV during prime time at least once every Christmas season. In 2011 (21 years after its first showing) the December 23rd broadcast was watched by over 5 million people, making it the most popular item on television that week. It's a Christmas miracle

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