Where Joe Pesci saw a connection between Looney Tunes and Home Alone

For a long time, Joe Pesci played roles on screen that most kids would never see. But that was before he appeared in Home Alone.

Actor based his Home Alone character on a well-known Bugs Bunny opponent

From Goodfellas to Home Alone

30 years ago
Duration 2:02
Joe Pesci discusses roles he's played during his career and what he liked about the Home Alone script.

For a long time, Joe Pesci played roles on screen that most kids would never see.

That's because Raging Bull, Man on Fire, Goodfellas and the Lethal Weapon sequels weren't movies that most parents would choose to show their kids.

For Pesci, that resume full of for-grown-ups-only movies is what made Home Alone an intriguing project for him.

"I thought Home Alone was a great script," Pesci told CBC's Midday, when discussing his career back in 1992. 

"I wanted to play it for the kids because I never get to work for children, you know?"

Thinking about that young audience helped shape how Pesci wanted to play Home Alone's Harry Lime — the brains behind the burglary team, known as the Wet Bandits, that targets the homes of a wealthy neighbourhood in the 1990 film.

In Home Alone, the Wet Bandits end up going toe to toe with 10-year-old Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin), who devises homemade booby traps to defend his home from the intruders.

'Cartoon cursing' was key

In Home Alone, Joe Pesci's character and another burglar target the home of the McCallister family, which, as seen above in real life, is located in Winnetka, Ill. (Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press)

When battling through the booby traps in the film, Pesci's character uses what he described as "cartoon cursing," or menacing gibberish that acts as G-rated profanity in the movie.

"It was my idea to ... play him like a cartoon character," said Pesci, likening his character to Yosemite Sam, an ill-tempered adversary of Bugs Bunny from the Looney Tunes universe.

Pesci would play the same burglar character in a Home Alone sequel, another movie in which the same young boy again gets separated from his family and, incredibly, again finds himself in conflict with the same two burglars.

In the 1990 film Home Alone, young Kevin McCallister (played by actor Macaulay Culkin) builds a series of booby traps to defend his home from a pair of burglars. (The Associated Press)

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