That kind of commitment is why he has an Oscar.
Lester Fabian Brathwaite
The pranks and high jinks in the beloved holiday comedy Home Alone are played for laughs, but we all know that in real life those crooks would have never made it to a sequel and young Kevin McAllister would probably have had to stand trial.
Just ask Joe Pesci, who played the bumbling burglar Harry in the first two films (opposite Daniel Stern as partner in crime Murray and Macaulay Culkin as Kevin). Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Pesci recently revealed that one of those classic McAllister pranks left him with “serious burns.”
Recall, if you will, the Lost in New York scene in which Harry once again finds himself on the business end of a blowtorch: One-upping a similar booby trap from the first movie, Harry dunks his flaming head into a toilet, which unbeknown to him is full of kerosene. Suffice it to say the results are not good for Harry.
Joe Pesci in ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’
Joe Pesci says he sunstained ‘srious burns’ filming this scene from 1990’s ‘Home Alone’
| Credit: Everett Collection
While Pesci — an Oscar winner for his work in the slightly darker drama Goodfellas — was glad to have a “change of pace” with this brand of slapstick, he admitted that the “more physical type of comedy” was “a little more demanding.”
“In addition to the expected bumps, bruises, and general pains that you would associate with that particular type of physical humor,” Pesci told PEOPLE, “I did sustain serious burns to the top of my head during the scene where Harry’s hat is set on fire.”
Pesci did that particular stunt himself, though he let the pros handle “the real heavy stunts.” Asked if he’d ever return for a future installment in the Home Alone franchise, the 79-year-old demurred, noting that times have changed and maybe audiences aren’t so keen on the idea of two grown men terrorizing an abandoned child and subsequently getting their heinies handed to them.
“While you never say never, I think that it would be difficult to replicate not only the success but also the overall innocence of the originals,” Pesci said. “It’s a different time now; attitudes and priorities have changed in 30 years.”
Well, there’s always 2021’s Home Sweet Home Alone — if you’re interested in metaphorically setting your head on fire.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York