Sweary not sweary: Joe Pesci in Home Alone

With Joe Pesci back in the spotlight thanks to The Irishman, and Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been remembering one of his finest performances – as hapless burglar Harry Lyme in Home Alone. It’s easy to forget how against-type this role was for Pesci, best known for playing menacing, foul-mouthed criminals in gangster films like Casino:

(Don’t miss the TV version, with its fancy hecking swear-avoidance.)

When Pesci was sent the script for Home Alone, he ‘saw he could do something with it’, according to executive producer Mark Levinson. But the filmmakers knew that Harry Lyme would be a challenge for Pesci. In a behind-the-scenes featurette on the DVD, director of photography Julio Macat says:

He thought that a lot of what we were asking him to do was a stretch for him. Which it was. He handled it so well, because a lot of it was, you know, kind of in a different playing field than what he was used to. I think his hardest thing was not to cuss on camera.

Julio Macat, head and shoulders view, speaks to an unseen interviewer: "I think his hardest thing was not to cuss on camera." Macat wears a black top and has a short dark beard. The background is plain dark brown and orange.

If you’ve ever wondered what an unleashed, uncensored Pesci in Home Alone might have been like, YouTubers Failuresville have a montage for you:

I gotta say, I would watch the shit out of that. What Pesci did, though, was even better, a masterclass in family-friendly pseudo-swearing:

You can browse our Christmas tag for more seasonal sweariness.

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