Now that we’ve entered the cold season, chances are we’re all starting to feel that need for a good cup of coco and winter holiday film on TV. And although there are more and more choices (and not always good) available when it comes to Christmas movies, Home Alone is most likely on everyone’s list!
For the occasion, we decided to double the feeling of nostalgia by traveling back to the set of the classic with the practically forgotten making of the movie, below, to discover how the magic of John Hughes’s timeless masterpiece, written almost 30 years ago, was brought to life.
In 1990, the release of the family comedy Home Alone wouldn’t only mark the birth of one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time, but also the incredible start of director Chris Columbus’s and young actor Macaulay Culkin’s prominence.
It’s clear that Culkin, who was 10 at the time, has played a big part in Home Alone‘s success. A sentiment that every member of the production and especially Columbus shared from the very start. “I thought it [the character of Kevin] really had to be cast well,” says Casting Director Janet Hirshenson in the behind-the-scenes documentary. “It had to be somebody that you believed could take care of himself. You’d be afraid for him. With the wrong kid, it could have been an obnoxious child. So we needed somebody who was totally endearing.”
Although Culkin was the first young actor Columbus met during the casting process after he was suggested by John Hughes, who previously worked with the child on Uncle Buck, he wasn’t ready to make up his mind until he had explored more options. “I wanted to find this perfect kid to be in Home Alone, and I didn’t want to resort to using Macaulay who was in Uncle Buck,” explains the director. “I thought, “I want to find someone on my own.”” An attitude he will soon deem foolish after meeting 400 other kids… “I realized there was no one as special, or as unique, or as talented as Macaulay,” explains Columbus. “He truly was a certified movie star.”
But what also helped Home Alone become a classic for the ages was, well, the gags! What separated the film from many other children productions was the quality of its script. As explained in the making of, John Hughes made sure every scene was detailed with precise dynamism. “The genius of the script that John wrote is that he plays desire and fear beautifully, like a little orchestra,” says Executive Producer Mark Levinson. “One of the brilliant things in John’s writing was that he laid out the physical comedy in exquisite detail,” adds actor Daniel Stern, who plays the hilarious Marv in the film.