Catherine O'Hara Loves Home Alone Just As Much As You Do

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal: Catherine O'Hara just teamed with Kevin Hart for a Home Alone-themed campaign. They sat down with E! News to spill about the ad and their holiday musts.

By Sarah Grossbart Nov 10, 2021 3:00 PMTags
Watch: "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York": E! News Rewind

Turns out you're not the only one thirsty for more Home Alone each holiday season. 

"I love it!" Catherine O'Hara (a.k.a. Kate McCallister) told E! News about being a part of so many families' holiday traditions. "Because I have my own and there's movies that I have to watch every Christmas." On her list: Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire's 1942 classic Holiday Inn, which introduced the world to Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, It's a Wonderful Life and, yes, Home Alone, of which she joked, "Oh yeah, have to force my kids to watch that." 

Which is why it was an easy yes when the team at Chase approached her about recreating one of the 1990 classic's most iconic moments with brand spokesman Kevin Hart.

The concept: Hart gets so wrapped up in Chase Freedom Unlimited's accelerated earn benefits that get him 1.5 percent back on everyday purchases that he wanders off and a frantically searching O'Hara is forced to yell, you guessed it, "KEVINNNNNN!!!"

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Home Alone

"It really just made me laugh," explained O'Hara, in a joint interview with Hart that was exactly as enjoyable as it sounds. "It's just such a great, funny, clean, clear, hilarious idea." 

Hart, meanwhile, was thrilled not only that the actress "just really grabbed ahold to a concept that we felt was a gamble," but that he gets to add worked-with-an-Emmy-winner-who-has-a-talent-for-turning-everything-she-touches-to-gold to his sizable resume.

"It's a big deal to me," he raved of teaming with the Schitt's Creek, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show alum. "And we think it's going to get a great reaction. It's one of those campaigns that will run and put some smiles on some people's faces."

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Because it is the season to be jolly. And the iconic stars are no different than the rest of us when it comes to getting into the holiday spirit. 

"It would actually make you laugh at how festive I actually am," said Hart, father to daughter Heaven, 16, and son Hendrix, 14, with ex Torrei Hart and son Kenzo, 3, and daughter Kaori, 13 months, with wife of five years Eniko Parrish. "I'm over-the-top when it comes to holidays."

His grandiose gestures stem from a desire to level up his childhood Christmases. Growing up in Philadelphia with mom Nancy and older brother Robert, "We had a fake, small Christmas tree and, you know, Christmas morning, we would open gifts and eat a dinner and that was it," he recalled. "But there was nothing that really, really crazy, you know, outside the box. It was just a room with love and positivity. And now, I said I can create a much bigger narrative." 

So with his crew, they decamp to picturesque Aspen each year where it "is all about the snow," he explained. "It's all about the hot chocolate. It's all about the pajamas. It's all about the dinner the night before, the big breakfast that morning, the dinner on Christmas day. It's so much that goes into it now. So I know that people probably don't expect it, but I'm the corny dad." 

As for O'Hara, her traditions don't end with watching the holiday classics. Her other lists of musts include "getting a really fresh tree as early as possible, one that I can keep up ‘til about February, until I can just put needles in the fire," she detailed, and "baking. I love to bake." 

But even more than, uh, folding in the flour, she revels in recreating one of her favorite memories. 

"My dad would go outside the house and pretend to be Santa," she explained of growing up in Toronto as the sixth of seven children. "They would buy pajamas and my mom would go in the bedroom and say, 'Oh, Santa's here.'"

Gathered in front of the locked front door, they'd hear the muffled sounds of her dad as Kris Kringle "so we're insanely excited," she shared. "They were fresh pajamas that we'd get every Christmas. And then, of course, we couldn't sleep because Santa had already been to the house and was coming back later and we'd just be lying in bed, stiff bodies, our eyes open, out of our minds excited. So I did that for years with my kids. My husband and I, he'd go outside and ring the bell."

Now, her sons with production designer Bo Welch are 27 and 24, she noted, but "I bet they'll still go along with it if I asked them."

Never once, though, did she predict she'd be slipping back into Kate McAllister's tan coat. 

Asked if she ever imagined how the film would resonate more than three decades later, she reasoned, "You never know how something's going to turn out and you hope for the best, but all you can go on is the script and the people that you get to work with. And in that case, it definitely worked out." 

Kwaku Alston

"I loved the script and it was a lovely, fun experience," she said of filming with director Chris Columbus, costars Macaulay Culkin, John CandyJohn Heard "and all those lovely kids. How about Kieran Culkin on Succession now? And he was the bed-wetting cousin." (As in, Fuller, go easy on the Pepsi!)

But to become part of the holiday film canon, "to think that I'm in one of those movies that has become a tradition for other people and their families?" she said. "That's great."

And it was joyous to recapture a bit of the magic. Even filming on the decorated mall set had her ready to blast the Mariah Carey and start decking the halls. Plus, she joked, "It was fun for me to just be looking for another Kevin."

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