They say artists have to be willing to do anything for their art, and for Joe Pesci, that includes setting his head on fire.
In a new interview with People, the Oscar winner reflected on the making “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” on the occasion of the sequel’s 30th anniversary and remembered how the comedy required some physically “demanding” stunts on his part.
“It was a nice change of pace to do that particular type of slapstick comedy,” Pesci said of making the first two “Home Alone” films in the email interview, published on Tuesday.
In the uber-successful franchise, Pesci played one half a bungling thief duo (alongside Daniel Stern) who is continually one-upped by a clever kid played by Macaulay Culkin. He acknowledged that the movies “were a more physical type of comedy, therefore, a little more demanding.”
One example – when Pesci’s character Harry walks unsuspectingly into a booby trap laid by Culkin’s Kevin, leading to a fiery finish.
“In addition to the expected bumps, bruises, and general pains that you would associate with that particular type of physical humor, I did sustain serious burns to the top of my head during the scene where Harry’s hat is set on fire,” the “Goodfellas” star recalled.
In fact, Harry’s head is set ablaze not once but twice in the movies, once in 1990’s “Home Alone” and again in the 1992 film, when Harry and Marv (Stern) chase Kevin through a house amid renovations. (Pesci did not clarify during which film he sustained his injury.)
Pesci added that he “was fortunate enough to have professional stuntmen do the real heavy stunts.”
“Home Alone 2,” which hit theaters on November 20, 1992, welcomed back Pesci, Culkin and Stern along with Catherine O’Hara and John Heard as Kevin’s parents. The movie also starred Oscar-winning actress Brenda Fricker as the Pigeon Lady.