Chris Columbus Directed 'Home Alone' Because Chevy Chase Was an Asshole
Chevy Chase’s assholery is legendary. Recounting all the public instances of it would take hours, but here’s one of the more egregious examples, from when he returned to Saturday Night Live to host in 1985, via Gawker:
Chase was back to host again in 1985 and seemed to piss off literally everyone. He made fun of Robert Downey Jr.’s father (“Didn’t your father used to be a successful director? Whatever happened to him? Boy, he sure died, you know, he sure went to hell.”) and was relentlessly hateful to Terry Sweeney, suggesting that SNL’s first openly gay cast member star in a sketch where they weighed him every week to see if he had AIDS. “So then he ended up having to apologize and actually coming to my office,” Sweeney says. “He was really furious that he had to apologize to me.”
So, yeah: That’s the kind of guy we’re dealing with. He didn’t get kicked off of Community for nothing.
Turns out, Chase’s legendary assholery also drove Christopher Columbus off of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series. John Hughes had tapped Columbus to direct Christmas Vacation (after having directed the first two installments), but Columbus couldn’t cope with Chase, as we learned in Chicago magazine’s oral history of Home Alone.
Here’s Columbus himself on the experience:
“To be completely honest, Chevy treated me like dirt. But I stuck it out and even went as far as to shoot second unit. Some of my shots of downtown Chicago are still in the movie. Then I had another meeting with Chevy, and it was worse. I called John and said, ‘There’s no way I can do this movie. I know I need to work, but I can’t do it with this guy.’ “
Hughes was not only understanding, but a total stand-up guy. Two weeks after Columbus left Christmas Vacation, Hughes sent him the script for Home Alone, which would become the movie that Columbus is most known for, Harry Potter movies notwithstanding.