If It Wasn't For Chevy Chase Being A Dingus, Home Alone Would Have Been Way Different
Home Alone might be the perfect Christmas movie. It has something for everyone, from Culkinesque antics for the kids to the sadistic torture of two petty criminals for your weird law-and-order uncle. And Home Alone almost turned out to be a completely different film, but it was saved by a force as inevitable and inexorable as the ebb and flow of the tides: Chevy Chase being a grade-A malcontent.
Sony Pictures TelevisionKnown to young people as Dan Harmon’s Angry Dad.
In the '80s, a young Chris Columbus, screenwriter of Gremlins and The Goonies, was given a big break by legendary director John Hughes, who offered him the gig to direct National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. For Columbus, it was a dream come true ... until he met his leading man, Chase. They immediately got off on the wrong foot, with Chase assuming Columbus was his assistant at first and barely changing that attitude after finding out he wasn't. And it only got worse from there.
According to Columbus, Chase treated him "like dirt." After three "humiliating" meetings, he'd had enough and quit the movie. In a testament to Hughes' generosity (or at least his innate understanding of how unlikable Chase is), he didn't blame the young filmmaker, and as a way to patch things up, asked him to direct his other Christmas comedy, Home Alone.
Columbus had some unique ideas on how to make this family movie. Thankfully, they were what turned Home Alone into the classic it is today. For example, Columbus came up with the creepy, intimidating man who turns out to be kind and heartwarming -- which is one way to process your feelings about Chevy Chase, we guess.
20th Century FoxAlternatively, he may have been speculating that Chase was serial killer.
And it was Columbus who hired cinematographer Julio Macat, because of his work on an iconic McDonald's Christmas commercial. As seen in Macat's notes, the pair shaped the movie as we know it, making the world look big and bright, like we're looking through Kevin's eyes ...
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox"Can we also include a furnace scene that will even give adults the creeps?"
... or to make the McCallister house a physical embodiment of Christmas, full of reds, greens, and gold ...
20th Century Fox
20th Century FoxThe reds also helped to mask all the bloodstains.
... or to make the violence "bold ... like a cartoon," giving the wanton brutality a zany Looney Tunes feel:
20th Century FoxHa! Third-degree burns. Classic.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability.
Don't sit around waiting for someone to save your movie idea, get a move on it with a guide to scriptwriting from Celtx.
If you loved this article and want more content like this, support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.
For more check out 23 Last Second Changes That Saved Classic Movies and 6 Classic Movies That Were Saved By (Wisely) Deleted Scenes.
Also follow us on Facebook. Because why not?