The Director of ‘Home Alone’ Pranked The Crew By Staging Catherine O’Hara’s Murder

Entertainment Features
12.26.14

Christmas may be over, but it’s never too late for a good Home Alone story, and this is basically the best one I’ve heard yet. It comes from Jedidiah Cohen, who played Rod McCallister in the first two Home Alone movies. He wrote a piece for Death and Taxes about his experiences as a child actor and, specifically, his experiences on the set of Home Alone.

He mentioned that Macaulay Culkin was a good guy then, and noted that the weirdest thing that happened on set was the day that Michael Jackson — who was friends with Culkin — pulled up in a limo to hang out with Culkin, causing work to grind to a halt.

But the best story involves the darkly twisted prank that Chris Columbus played with Macaulay Culkin by staging the murders of John Heard and Catherine O’Hara.

We were at the end of a long day, filming a silly cover shot with John Heard and Catherine O’Hara in the background. They had screwed up the rhythm a few times, and I overheard Chris joke that someone should “go in and shoot them” to save us all from having to do another take. I was 15 years old, and managed to chime in at the perfect moment with, “I’ll do it!” We all laughed, and I thought that was the end of it.

Five minutes later, the prop master tapped me on the shoulder with a serious look on his face he asked, “Have you ever fired a gun before?” Swallowing hard, I managed “Of course not.” With that he gave me a stern safety lecture and handed me a revolver loaded with blanks. He explained that John and Catherine were in on the joke—the last take was a keeper, so this next one was just for fun. They kept the camera rolling as I walked into the master bedroom, yelled “Uncle Pete, Aunt Kate, I’ve had it!” and squeezed off three rounds. Without missing a beat, Macauley raced back in, stared straight into the camera, and with both hands on his cheeks—just like the iconic scene from the first movie—screamed as loud as he could. We played the clip for the whole cast and crew the following day.

What could be more hilariously inappropriate than staging murders on the set of a film starring child actors? That’s good prank.

Source: Death and Taxes

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