After watching Raging Bull, director Chris Columbus could not wait to collaborate with one of it’s stars, a wish that was fulfilled 50-50.
Chris Columbus was the talent that brought the world the Hollywood classic Home Alone. A film, that could very well turn into a thriller or a horror film if not handled right, became a comedy classic, one that has become a mainstay of Christmas features across the world.
Home Alone (1990)
While the casting of the film was going on, there were several questions about the treatment of the various characters that were being addressed one by one. When it came to the burglars, of course, the role would go to the legendary Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, but there was one of Pesci’s costars who was considered for the role too.
Robert De Niro was considered for the role of Harry Lime
American actor Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta in a scene from ‘Raging Bull‘
Columbus had become a great fan of De Niro and Pesci alike after watching the film Raging Bull, a morbidly depressing adaptation of Ragin Bull: My Story. Columbus considered De Niro for the role of one of the burglars. The film tells the story of a real-life middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta, making the film closer to Scarface than to the kid-friendly tone of home alone.
There was an active debate on set about how scary or how funny the burglars had to be. The final result ended up toeing the line between fear and comedy while leaning heavily towards the funny side of things. Apart from De Niro, Jon Lovitz was also considered for the role. However, the role finally went to Joe Pesci, De Niro’s co-star in the film Raging Bull. Despite how depressing the film was, Comlumbus was keen on working with Pesci, so much so that he was stunned when the actor said yes to the role.
While the burglars were funny, stunts on the set were not
Joe Pesci, Macaulay Culkin and Daniel Stern in Home Alone
While Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern’s Harry and Marv became instant classics as characters in Holywood, it was the stunt performers as well who were responsible for the fame that the characters received. The amount of stunt work that was required for Home Alone revolutionized the stunt industry in the United States.
Director Columbus and the entire crew, as revealed in the docuseries The Movies That Made Us, that each time a stunt was performed, everyone on set would look away from the monitor and make sure that the stunt performers were right. Such was the enormity of the chance of getting hurt, that the industry at large began to use Home Alone as a euphemism for a fall that was too high and too loud on impact. The stunt performer Troy Brown (stunt double for Joe Pesci) opened up about the happenings on set, remembering the fun he had falling every time.