Joe Pesci says he got “serious burns” to his head in iconic “Home Alone” scene

“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” is one of the many classic holiday movies that people enjoy every year. But for one of the stars, filming it came with very real and not-so-joyous consequences. 

Joe Pesci, who portrayed criminal Harry Lime in the first and second “Home Alone” films, opened up to People about his time working on set. The first of the films came out in 1990 while the second, which came out in 1992, turned 30 this year. The 79-year-old actor told the magazine in an email interview that both “Home Alone” movies were “a little demanding” as they were a “more physical type of comedy.” 

In the second installment of the film franchise, Macaulay Culkin‘s character of Kevin McCallister accidentally ends up on the wrong flight as his family goes on Christmas vacation. While his parents, siblings, uncles and cousins go to Florida, McCallister ends up in New York City. It starts off as a dream with a suite to himself at The Plaza, but the child quickly runs into the criminals that attempted to rob his home in the first film. 

In both films, McCallister unloads a world of pain on the criminals, Harry and Marv, the latter played by Daniel Stern. While stunt doubles were used for many scenes, Pesci said that some of the ones he did commit to were quite painful – namely, his head being set on fire. 

In the first movie, his character opens a door to the McCallister’s home and a blow torch is activated, setting his beanie on fire. In the second, film he chases the young McCallister into an apartment and runs into another booby trap that lights his head on fire once again. 

“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,” Pesci said. “I was fortunate enough to have professional stuntmen do the real heavy stunts.” 

Pesci also said that he did everything he could to make sure that the on-screen tumultuous relationship between Harry, Marv and Kevin was believable. 

“I intentionally limited my interactions with [Culkin] to preserve the dynamic between his character, Kevin, and my character Harry,” he told People, saying he didn’t “want it to come across on the screen that we are in any way friendly.” 

“I wanted to maintain the integrity of the adversarial relationship,” he said.