15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Uncle Buck’

That clown scene could’ve been so much more
15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Uncle Buck’

It’s the movie that turned writer/director John Hughes’ go-to guy, John Candy, into America’s favorite on-screen uncle and made everyone take full notice of Macaulay Culkin’s acting chops. It’s Uncle Buck, the comedy classic that warmed audiences’ hearts like a piping hot pair of socks fresh from the microwave. And so, please enjoy the following trivia tidbits about the movie featuring drunk clowns getting punched in the face and just the most amazing pancakes...

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There’s an Indian Remake Called ‘Uncle Bun’

In 1991, India got a Malayalam-language remake of the movie that saw Buck get turned into a character named Charlie Chacko, who is asthmatic, likes rabbits and enjoys playing the piano while sloshingly drunk.

The Clown Scene Was Originally Longer — And More Violent

Actor Mike Starr (who played Pooter the Clown) told Cracked that he not only felt awkward filming the scene in a high-end Chicago neighborhood looking like John Wayne Gacy but that there was way more to it than what ended up in the movie. “In the movie, all you see is him punching me,” Starr recalled, “but there was originally a fight where we were on the front lawn, and he was beating me with my big shoe.”

The Movie Cover Was Changed After Its Home Video Release

Universal Pictures

The initial artwork for the VHS covers saw Uncle Buck knocking on the door with the entire Russell family standing on the other side. The marketing department, however, decided to remove the older family members, leaving just the two young kids because they wanted to target a younger audience.

The Screen Test Between Candy and Culkin Still Exists

Well, at least some of it. A very short screen test is online that features the two actors doing the famous “Questions” scene, and it’s as delightful as the one in the movie.

Danny DeVito Was Originally Going to Play Uncle Buck

Hughes had initially considered DeVito for the part of the clown-punching, hatchet-loving Buck Russell. While DeVito is a magnificent actor and always a treat to watch, it would’ve been a wildly different movie with him at the helm. This scene, for instance, would probably have read more comical than intimidating if it had featured the 4-foot-10 actor.

The Deleted Scene Where Uncle Buck Plays Pictionary Junior With His Buddies

The 10-minute-plus long scene is entirely unedited, with no color correction done, and features Buck and his gambling buddies in the Russell’s living room playing everything from Pictionary Junior to a round of Musical Chairs (for money, of course). While it’s as raw as they come, it’s also an excellent example of how Hughes allowed his cast to play and experiment with their given scenes.

The Guy Who Played Bug Is Now a Pastor

Jay Underwood, the young fella who played Tia’s douchey boyfriend and sickly thorn in Uncle Buck’s side, continued doing small parts in movies and shows like The X-Files and Star Trek: Voyager. But he also became a pastor in 2005, and his last credited film was the 2019 movie Surge of Dawn, featuring a gay superhero and his vampire sidekick who fight alongside each other for God.

Culkin’s Future ‘My Girl’ Co-Star Has a Cameo in the Movie

During the scene where Uncle Buck confronts Maizy’s school principal, there’s a cut to his niece in her classroom telling her teacher that Buck had microwaved her socks and that their dog threw up on the couch for an hour. Next to her sits Anna Chlumsky, who, along with Culkin, would make audiences everywhere ugly cry two years later.

Not Surprisingly, Candy Made His Co-Stars Laugh Constantly

In a Vanity Fair interview, Amy Madigan (who played Chanice Kobolowski) said that it was difficult keeping it straight while acting opposite ad-libbing master Candy. “He was the king of ad-libs. He and John Hughes had worked together before, so they had a really neat shorthand,” Madigan remembered. “It was sometimes all I could do to keep a straight face since he was just so hilarious. You would be doing a close-up, so the other actors are off camera, and he would just throw this stuff at you to crack you up.”

The Kids Were Studying On Set During Filming

The school scenes were shot in a vacant school, with Jean Louisa Kelly, Macaulay Culkin and Gaby Hoffmann all getting a classroom each where they could sit with their tutors and do their schoolwork in between shoots.

The Original Cut Was Three Hours Long

That’s what happens when your set is also Ad-Lib CityHats Off Entertainment explored the full script as well as unearthed footage that ended up on the cutting room floor in the video below.

It’s Been Turned Into a TV Series Twice

In 1990, CBS tried to find success with an Uncle Buck TV show starring Kevin Meaney, which ultimately failed when critics bashed it, and no one watched. In 2016, there was another attempt by ABC starring Mike Epps, but the show was canceled after only eight episodes.

The Fan Theory That Explains Uncle Buck

It’s been debated why exactly Buck Russell is so reviled by his brother and sister-in-law to the point that he’s been dramatically cropped out of all family photos. A fan theory tries to explain this by suggesting that Buck has ties to organized crime, which would make sense since Hughes himself has said that Buck has “gangster buddies.” It would also explain both his propensity for violence and his family’s reluctance to have him around.

Candy’s Daughter Says He Was a Lot Like Uncle Buck

“I always describe him closest to Uncle Buck,” Jennifer Candy told the Toronto Sun. “He was very serious, stern, tough love, but he knew how to have a good time.”


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