In 1992, Donald Trump was not a twice-impeached future private citizen. He had not yet sold the Plaza Hotel at an $83 million loss, run several more businesses into the ground, and posed as a “good” “businessman” on a reality-TV show that Bret Michaels once won. He was merely a divorced father of three who owned the Plaza Hotel by day and chased fame any way he could by night. That year, he made a cameo in the Home Alone sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
In the movie, Macaulay Culkin’s young Kevin McCallister, alone in the storied New York hotel, runs into Trump and asks where the lobby is, to which Trump replies, “Down the hall and to the left.” (It would be an easy scene to lose entirely, given what Trump has done since—they already did it once in Canada.) But one guy (also Canadian) did fans one better: He kept the scene, but edited Trump out.
In this rendering, it looks as though Culkin’s McCallister is talking to an invisible blob that sucks all of the sound out of the room. It’s an improvement:
On Wednesday, Culkin responded, “Bravo.” And when another person floated petitioning “to digitally replace trump in ‘home alone 2’ with 40-year-old macaulay culkin [sic],” Culkin wrote, “Sold.” (The former child actor is a fan of meta forms, as we know.)
Why was Trump in the film in the first place? Many hotel owners grant permission to film in their spaces without making a cameo. Trump, it turns out, required it.
“The deal was that if you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him in a part,” Matt Damon told the Hollywood Reporter in 2017. “Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman—and the whole crew was in on it. You have to waste an hour of your day with a bullshit shot: Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, ‘Hello, Mr. Trump!’—you had to call him by name—and then he exits.
“You waste a little time so that you can get the permit, and then you can cut the scene out,” Damon said. “But I guess in Home Alone 2 they left it in.”
The film’s director Chris Columbus later confirmed that’s what happened in his case as well, but they left it in because when they initially screened the movie, people “cheered” at the cameo.
By 2021, there are many who would still cheer at the cameo, and many more who would love to cut out the scene as well as the past four-to-five years. But expunging this eight-second scene would probably wound his ego worse than Mitch McConnell turning on him, or Mike Pence declining to overthrow a democracy, or the whole double-impeachment thing. It would be a blow to his ego, like the PGA Championship’s recent snub. He always did and likely always will bristle at the most surface-level things.
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