HOME SWEET HOME ALONE Video Interview: Ally Maki On Remaking A Classic And Cracking Up On Set (Exclusive)

Home Sweet Home Alone star Ally Maki talks to us about remaking a holiday classic, improvising on set, the scenes she struggled to get through, a possible return to the Toy Story franchise, and more...

Home Sweet Home Alone is now streaming on Disney+, and this reimagining of the beloved holiday film franchise sees a married couple trying to steal back a valuable heirloom from a troublesome kid. You can check out our review by clicking here, but earlier this week, we sat down for a fun chat with star Ally Maki (Cloak & Dagger, Hit Monkey) to discuss her hilarious role as Mei. 

An in-law who visits at the worst possible time for the aforementioned couple, Maki is a highlight, and clearly had a great time working on Dan Mazer's fresh take on the iconic series of movies. 

In the video below, the actress talks to us about some of her most memorable moments on set, what she loved about being part of a holiday movie, avoiding the wrath of Archie Yates' Max, and much more. Maki also ponders a return to the Toy Story franchise as Giggle McDimples and elaborates on comments she made during this movie's press conference about her interest in Star Wars.

Watch our full interview with the Home Sweet Home Alone star below: 

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk about the film.

Of course, I’m so excited for this to come out [Laughs]. 

I can imagine. Home Alone is, of course, such an iconic franchise, so for you as an actor, what was it like when the offer came through and you found out you could be part of such an amazing series of films?

I mean, I totally, absolutely, 100% grew up on these films. I think I’ve seen 1 and 2 maybe 50 or 60 times [Laughs]. I’m one of those people during the holiday season that will just leave it on so it plays over and over. I’m definitely a fan and when I first got the script, I wondered, ‘What way are they going to take this reboot?’ Immediately, when I read it, I was like, ‘This is so funny.’ I feel like fans of the originals will find little Easter Eggs and funny bits that they will really resonate with and new generations [will] too. Obviously, the hijinks are so fun and hilarious and Ellie and Rob are just getting beat up the whole movie. There’s a bit of something for everyone and Streeter Seidell and Mikey Day from SNL wrote it, so they just have such a fun and unique spin on it. It was just a dream. 

Dan Mazer has such an amazing comedy background with Borat to Who Is America?, so I can imagine it was really unique to work with him on such a departure from his R-Rated projects with a family film like this one? 

I am so obsessed with Dan! I honestly think that working with him was pretty life-changing for me in that I remember just being on set and he would let the cameras roll. He’d say, ‘Don’t worry. Just say whatever you want.’ So, Tim Simons and I - we play husband and wife - got to go off and improv all of this funny stuff. It was really cool and I’d never filmed anything like that. Once I realised, ‘Oh, he doesn’t want more Ally, he wants us to live as these people.’ Even on certain days, he would just throw us things. I got to sing a song in the movie that was very off the cuff. I think they wrote parts of it on the day of and they were just throwing us bits, so it was just so fun to work like that. It made us feel like anything was possible. 

Mei, as in-laws go, are pretty good for the most part, but they show up at the worst possible time for the two leads. With your character being oblivious to what’s going on with them and knowing you’re causing this extra mayhem in their lives, that must have been a lot of fun? 

It was so fun! We really just amped up that whole, ‘We’re from LA and we’re here and are not going to apologise.’ Dan and I talked about how he wanted us to be extra over the top, but still that loving aunt and uncle that was going to bring the fun and give everyone Apple Watches because they love them so much. I had so much fun being an auntie because in my real life, I’m an aunt, so it was so fun to be able to bring that and spoil my niece and nephew. I got to play a mom too which was awesome. It was so fun. My little kid was a twin, so every day it was like, ‘Ohh, which one are you? [Laughs] C’mon Ally, this is your ultimate movie mom quiz if you can remember which one is Aiden and which one is Allan.’ I think I got pretty good at it by the end [Laughs]. 

As you mentioned,  Rob and Ellie spend the whole film getting beaten up pretty badly by a child, but did you find yourself feeling sorry for them as they’re walking about looking like that or did you even regret missing out on getting involved with some of those action scenes?

I felt a little bad for them sometimes [Laughs]. It was so cold. We were truly in the middle of a snowstorm filming in the middle of Montreal, and sometimes, I would just be hanging out with Ellie and she had this black coat on with all this goo all over it from head to toe in the middle of the night. I think the goo was meant to look like she was just drenched wet and I was like, ‘That can’t be fun.’ Seeing Rob go around the set with the big thing on his head and just trying to chat about life was always very hysterical. I did not envy them in those moments, but it turned out so fun. I envied not being part of the fun in those moments [Laughs].

This is such a great Christmas movie particularly for fans who will have so much fun with it, but for you, what was most fun about actually being part of a Christmas movie? I feel like that doesn’t come along too often these days for an actor. 

Oh, it was so fun because, like I said, we were filming in Montreal which is such a beautiful place. Everyone was so nice and I was trying to bring back some of my old French, because I took French in high school, so I was trying to learn while I was there and everyone is so lovely. We were staying in this beautiful part of downtown that felt like you were living in a holiday movie yourself. I think it was fun we really got to immerse ourselves, but it was definitely very much a snowstorm. There was one night we had to check into a hotel where I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure this could be haunted.’ Then, we walked in, and there was a table that literally said, ‘Ghost Stories…This Hotel Is Haunted.’ I’m saying, ‘Whoa, what is happening?’ [Laughs] It was fun getting to immerse ourselves in all kinds of holiday, snowstorm, and ghost action. It was great. I had such a blast. 

On another note, I think everyone fell in love with Giggle McDimples in Toy Story 4, so I’ve got to ask, do you think a return as that character is on the horizon?

I mean, that would be my ultimate dream. I have this whole idea that all the little characters in all the different properties would come together and have a little superhero team of minis [Laughs]. Maybe Baby Groot’s there, Giggle McDimples [Laughs] and a couple others. That character is so near and dear to my heart. Giggle McDimples is just my girl. I had the most wonderful time as I did on this project, but that one was two or three years of my life. I became so close to those people and, you know, what an amazing movie to be part of. That’s definitely a dream, so I’ll have to pitch that! 

Talking of dreams, you just mentioned during the press conference that you’d love to be part of Star Wars. I know you’ve had some experience with Marvel, but who do you imagine you could play? Are you thinking Jedi? Sith? Soldier? There are so many options. 

I know. It’s so hard. I mean, I really loved the Stormtroopers for some reason. I feel like that would be so random [Laughs]. I could be part of the Stormtrooper squad, but maybe a good one in the way Finn was. Yeah, I don’t know, maybe a cool Stormtrooper. That would be cool to see. A cool woman Stormtrooper character…

Absolutely. Well, fingers crossed for you. Finally, this is a very funny movie and, as you said, you get to sing and be part of some really memorable scenes, but was there anything you struggled to get through because you were cracking up?

[Laughs] I think it was one of the first days when they’re doing the bell performance. Literally, the only job was to sit in the audience and root them on. They were just so funny because there’s something about when people aggressively whisper over something they’re doing. They’re not actually ringing the bells, so it’s just Ellie and Rob being like [Whispers]. It just looks so ridiculous, because there’s no sound, and they’re just whispering aggressively. I don’t know, it was very hard to keep a straight face that day. It was also one of the first days, so I think we all had a lot of energy and excitement. Just to see them do that, I could watch them all day. 

Thank you so much for your time. It’s a great film and I can’t wait for people to check it out. 

Thank you! I can’t wait for everyone to see it!

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