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Home Alone has become a true holiday classic. After all, the movie does hold the Guinness World Record for highest grossing live action comedy. And, honestly, what would Christmas be like if we couldn’t all indulge our violent holiday-time tendencies and live vicariously through a little boy who (rightfully) has to use any and all means to stop a pair of crooks? Now, though, it looks like the movie might not have turned out to be such a classic had Chevy Chase, who wasn’t even in the film, not been a big old meany.
In December’s Chicago Magazine, a very detailed article describes basically all aspects of the production, which mainly took place around the city’s North Shore neighborhood. And, this is where Home Alone’s director, Chris Columbus describes the impact Chevy Chase had on his decision to helm the film.
After John Hughes sent a script to Chris Columbus in the hopes that he would direct Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation, the director met with the star over dinner. It turns out this dinner didn’t go so well.
To be completely honest, Chevy treated me like dirt.
Well, he’s right. Saying that you were treated like dirt by a famous person is certainly honest and wonderfully blunt. He doesn’t describe said crappy treatment, but I think it’s safe to say that he at least believes with his whole heart that Chevy Chase pooped all over him and that meeting. And while Chris Columbus did not go on to direct that film, he did do some work on it, which led to another ill fated meeting with Chase. As people like to say, when a door closes, a window opens.
…I had another meeting with Chevy, and it was worse. I called John and said, ‘There’s no way I can do this movie. I know I need to work, but I can’t do it with this guy.’ John was very understanding. About two weeks later…I got two scripts. One was Home Alone, with a note from John asking if I wanted to direct…John was my savior.
Chris Columbus even goes so far as to say that John Hughes’ ability to let him off the hook with Christmas Vacation felt like support that he’d never have gotten from the rest of Hollywood. Which is very lucky for us, because, otherwise, we might not have the Home Alone we so richly deserve.
If there’s one thing that’s apparent from watching movies of any kind, it’s that every director has their own style. Anyone else behind the Home Alone cameras and the whole thing could have turned out very differently. What if this non-Chris Columbus director protested the marble scene and won? What if he or she turned the aftershave scene into a tragic moment where little Kevin McCallister actually gets first degree burns on his delicate-child cheeks? It’s becoming pretty clear to me that we all have Chevy Chase and his severe Chevitude (adjust your spell-checkers, it’s a word now, I’ve decided.) to thank for the enduring awesomeness that is Home Alone. So, thank you Chevy Chase. We can’t wait to see what other wondrous entertainment your Chevitude inadvertently leads to.