Chris Farley Almost Played This Scene-Stealing "Home Alone" Character
Director Chris Columbus revealed that he "regrets" not giving the future SNL star the role.
It's a hard pill for some of us to swallow, but the holiday classic Home Alone came out a whole 30 years ago. The 1990 comedy made a mega-star out of its pint-sized lead, Macaulay Culkin; turned Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci into hilarious, slapstick villains; and features a legendary John Candy cameo. To mark the anniversary of the film, some of the cast and crew reflected on the experience of making the unexpected smash hit and even let fans in on some behind-the-scenes secrets, including the casting that could have been. In an oral history published by The Independent, director Chris Columbus revealed that Chris Farley almost played a memorable Home Alone character—and that he regrets not giving him the role.
During the late '80s, Farley had been performing comedy at the Second City Theatre in Chicago, where Home Alone filmed. Though he'd yet to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, Columbus knew the comedian because they went to the same church in New York City. "I'd see him and we'd talk and he was the sweetest guy in the world," the director told The Independent.
Farley came in to audition for Home Alone early one morning, but unfortunately, failed to impress. Columbus said that he read for the part of the off-duty Santa Claus that Kevin (Culkin) goes to see to ask for his family to be returned. The character is just in one scene in the final cut, but it could have been a big break for Farley, who wouldn't get his first film credit until 1992's Wayne's World.
The beloved comedian died of an overdose in 1997 at the age of 33, and his issues with substance and alcohol use marked his tragically short life and career. According to Columbus's recollection, this was another instance where his partying had a detrimental effect.
"He came in, and I don't think he had gone to sleep that night so the audition did not go particularly well," the director said. "I regret it. I think he would've been great in the film, but I do love the guy who played Santa Claus [Ken Hudson Campbell]. He was very funny."
The same year that Home Alone hit theaters, 1990, Farley would make his Saturday Night Live debut and then go on to lead movies like Black Sheep and Tommy Boy. But we just missed out on being introduced to him in this formative '90s classic. For more facts you may not know about Home Alone, keep reading. And for more wholesome recommendations, check out The Best Family Movies of All Time, According to Critics.
Read the original article on Best Life.
The movie was written for Macaulay Culkin—but that doesn't mean he always had the role.
John Hughes wrote Home Alone with Culkin in mind after directing him in his 1989 comedy Uncle Buck. But he wasn't automatically guaranteed the role of Kevin. Casting director Janet Hirshenson told The Independent that she did "a quick and limited search" for any other possible candidates. "I needed a little boy who would still be believing in Santa Claus. I did a quick sweep of New York and Chicago and nope—there wasn't anyone better than Macaulay," she said.
"No one else had whatever quality Mac had," Columbus added. "He felt like a real kid but was also incredibly charming and extraordinarily funny."
For more kids who became massively famous, check out The Biggest Child Actors Ever, Then and Now.
John Candy improvised all of his scenes.
In Home Alone, the late, great John Candy plays Gus Polinski, a kind-hearted polka king who offers Kevin's mom (Catherine O'Hara) a ride with his band, the Kenosha Kickers, when she can't get on a flight home to her son.
And Gus is truly a Candy creation. He was given full rein to improvise in his scenes, including that hilariously dark anecdote about being abandoned at a funeral parlor as a child. According to a biography of the comedian (via Film Stories), Hughes suggested that Candy come on board for a portion of the film's profits, but he opted to play the role as a favor, earning a mere $414 for his work.
And for more lines that weren't scripted, check out 50 Famous Movie Lines That Were Ad-Libbed.
The ornaments Marv steps on were made out of candy.
It's one of the most excruciating scenes in the movie's twisted fun house climax: a barefoot Marv (Stern) stepping on strategically placed glass ornaments, courtesy of Kevin. To make it look as real as possible while still protecting the actor, those ornaments were actually made of candy. Stern wore specially designed rubber shoes, as well.
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But those hilarious stunts weren't very funny on set.
In The Guardian piece, Columbus underlined that there are no visual effects used in the scenes where Kevin protects his house from those would-be burglars. It's all stunt work, and it looked brutal in person.
"…Every time we'd do a stunt, it'd appear a stuntman was near death and in real physical trouble," he said. "It wasn't funny at all."
"What was happening to those guys was extremely painful so what we did was mix in enough real sound effects and cartoon sound effects and constructed the music in such a way that it felt cartoony enough that people would laugh instead of going, 'Ow!'" editor Raja Gosnell added.
"I'd yell cut and everyone was silent," Columbus said. "I'd walk up to the stunt men and say, 'Are you OK?' and they'd say, 'Perfect, no problem!'"
For performers who transformed for roles, check out 14 Actors Who Looked Unrecognizable in Major Movies.
It's the movie Joe Pesci is recognized for most often.
He may have an Oscar for Goodfellas, but to some of us, Joe Pesci will always be—first and foremost—one of the Wet Bandits.
"The last time I was talking to Martin Scorsese he said to me, 'You know, every time I worked with Pesci, all he talks about is that the only thing he gets recognized for is Home Alone. Kids keep coming up to him all the time to talk about Home Alone,'" Columbus told The Independent. "I said 'I'm sorry. What can I say? He's done his greatest work with you–but I apologize for that.'"
For more flicks that terrorized little ones from that era, check out The Scariest Movies '90s Kids Can't Forget.