In the John Hughes-written film, which was directed by Chris Columbus, Kevin is left behind at home when his family go on holiday for Christmas. At one stage near the beginning, Kevin falls out with his family the night before they’re leaving for Paris.
When his mum sends him up to the attic to sleep as punishment, she says she doesn’t want to see him “for the rest of the night”, to which Kevin replies: “I don’t want to see you again for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to see anybody else, either.”
Here, his mum says: “I hope you don’t mean that – you’d feel pretty sad if you woke up tomorrow morning and you didn’t have a family.”
According to O’Hara, though, she struggled deeply with the line that followed.
The Schitt’s Creek star revealed this detail while delivering a speech about Culkin at a ceremony unveiling his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday (1 December).
“The scene where I had to drag him upstairs to sleep in the attic ‘cause he’d misbehaved, he’s mouthing off about the family and I say, ‘Well, you’d be pretty sad if you woke up tomorrow morning and you had no family,’ and he says, ‘No, I wouldn’t.’ And I was supposed to say, ‘Then say it again - maybe it’ll happen.’
O’Hara continued: “I can’t tell you how much that killed me – I could not wrap my head around saying something so horrific to this beautiful child.” She then quipped: “Of course I was not yet a mother at the time and I had no idea the kind of things would come out of my own mouth with my own two sons.”
In her heartfelt speech, O’Hara reflected on the success of Home Alone, attributing this to Culkin’s performance. He was 10 at the time.
She went on to praise Culkin for “surviving” huge fame at such a young age. “This beautiful 10-year-old little boy was called a superstar, a moneymaker, one of the hottest leading young men in Hollywood by the world over. How does anyone survive that?” she asked, adding: “I believe you’d have to possess a certain quality, a gift, that dear John Hughes obviously recognized in you Macaulay, your sense of humour.
“It’s a sign of intelligence in a child and a key to surviving life at any age. From what I see, you have brought that sense of sweet yet twisted, yet totally relatable, sense of humour to everything you have chosen to do since Home Alone.”
She told the crowd gathered at the ceremony, which took place on the streets of Los Angeles: “Home Alone was, is, and always will be a beloved global sensation. The reason families all over the world can’t let a year go by without watching and loving Home Alone together is because of Macaulay Culkin. Yes, he had a most excellent script and a wonderful director.
“But it is Macaulay’s perfect performance as Kevin McCallister that gave us that little every boy on an extraordinary adventure.”
She told the visibly emotional former child star: “I know you worked really hard, I know you did, but you made acting look like the most natural thing in the world to do. It was really as if we’d ambushed this real little boy named Kevin to make a movie and he just went along with it for the fun of it.”