Former Child Star from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Shares Unbelievable Behind-the-Scenes Stories, Including Shocking Revelations about Working with Chevy Chase and the Deleted “Graphic” Scene

Former Child Star from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Shares Unbelievable Behind-the-Scenes Stories, Including Shocking Revelations about Working with Chevy Chase and the Deleted “Graphic” Scene

It’s the holiday movie that has been going strong for more than three decades, and now one of the stars of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has opened up about what it was really like being on set with Chevy Chase.

The feel good festive film, which was released back in 1989, saw Chevy resume his role as Clark ‘Sparky’ Griswold alongside Beverly D’Angelo – who played his onscreen wife Ellen Griswold – as they endured a chaotic holiday season with their nearest and dearest.

The hilarious movie also starred Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki as the Griswold children as the family prepared for a Christmas with their extended family – as well as a few surprise guests including Ellen’s cousin Catherine Johnson and her two kids.

Perhaps one of the most memorable scenes is when little Ruby Sue Johnson has a late night conversation with Clark about Santa Claus and ends up cursing – and now the woman behind the adorable performance has revealed what it was really like working with Chevy, now 80.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is the feel good festive film that keeps on giving

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the feel good festive film that keeps on giving

Ellen Latzen pictured with her co-star Chevy Chase who played the role of Clark Griswold

Ellen Latzen pictured with her co-star Chevy Chase who played the role of Clark Griswold

Ruby Sue Johnson was the adorable kid who spent Christmas with the Griswolds

Actress Ellen is now 43-years-old and a mother

Ellen, now 43, played the memorable role of Ruby Sue Johnson in the 1989 movie 

Ellen said that Chevy 'kind of kept to himself' but described the actor as a 'likeable guy'

Ellen said that Chevy ‘kind of kept to himself’ but described the actor as a ‘likeable guy’

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Ellen Latzen revealed how the comedic actor ‘kind of kept to himself’ during filming, but didn’t turn her away when she went to his trailer in between scenes to ‘play cards with him’.

‘On that film, and pretty much any film I worked on as a kids, all of the adults were always very professional but also warm. I think that probably from their perspective, working with children… they want to make them comfortable and feel safe and well cared for and in an environment that is friendly to them,’ Ellen said.

‘On the set of Christmas Vacation, all of the adults were really wonderful and funny and warm and took the time to spend time with me. 

‘Chevy kind of kept to himself, but because I was this very gregarious kid and liked to build relationships with people I was working with, I would go to his trailer when neither one of us were working and play cards with him or just sit and chat.

‘It was important for me to sort of establish these relationships, and he was very open to that and filming the scene with him, I think it probably was conducive to that moment,’ Ellen continued, before speaking about the hilarious onscreen moment that she and Chevy shared.

The scene occurs around 50 minutes into the movie and sees Ruby Sue interrupt Clark as he fantasizes about a female shopping assistant stripping off naked.

The youngster asks Clark if he is Santa Claus before admitting that her brother Rocky bit her thumb because ‘he’s nervous because Christmas is almost here’.

When Clark replies: ‘Nervous or excited?’, Ruby Sue delivers the unforgettable line of ‘sh**tin’ bricks’ and when he quickly tells her she ‘shouldn’t use that word’, she then corrects herself and says: ‘Sorry, sh**tin’ rocks.’  

‘Having a relationship on the other side of the camera, as well as in front of it, that sort of lent to the bond that we had in that moment and made it really genuine,’ Ellen explained.

Ellen's character Ruby Sue Johnson swears in the film during a conversation with Clark

Ellen’s character Ruby Sue Johnson swears in the film during a conversation with Clark

Ellen described Chevy as being a 'genius' when it comes to physical comedy

Ellen described Chevy as being a ‘genius’ when it comes to physical comedy

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when Clark carves open the Christmas turkey with all of his family present

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when Clark carves open the Christmas turkey with all of his family present

Ellen was just days away from her ninth birthday when filming wrapped on the movie, but despite being so young, she said it was no issue for her to be saying rude words onscreen.

‘I learned to swear from my parents so it’s not as though that was taboo in my household, even though they would say the same thing: “You shouldn’t use that word,”‘ she joked.

‘And I think I learned to curse when they weren’t around but I loved the fact that I was able to say sh*t, and they were okay with it. They probably rolled their eyes and were like, “it’s part of the movie”, and they didn’t think it was a big deal.’ 

Ellen went on to say that she thinks there’s certain ‘cultural’ aspects of the movie that perhaps aren’t acceptable in 2023, and revealed how one scene was adapted for fear that it was ‘too graphic’. 

‘The movie is classic, but it’s also pretty dated, with with sort of cultural things that were okay in the 80s and 90s, but not so [much] now. But it kind of lends to that time and transports you to that era in a nostalgic way.

Referring to the ‘graphic’ scene, she said: ‘So, the cat gets electrocuted and the way that it was portrayed in the film was that there is this cat crater underneath the chair, but an alternate take on it was they had found this plush, white long-haired cat that they had put these eyes on that were like bugged out of his head and they were gonna maybe use that, but I think that it was made a little bit too graphic.’

Touching on another memorable scene from the movie which involves Clark carving meat at the family Christmas dinner, Ellen revealed: ‘The turkey was supposed to explode rather than just be like super dry on the inside, but logistically they figured that was probably not the way to go!’

Ellen revealed that the only co-star she’s currently in touch with is her onscreen brother Rocky, who was played by actor Cody Burger, as she explained: ‘He’s married and has a teenage daughter and we text and I call him “little brother” and he calls me “big sis”.

‘We still have a really good relationship, and I’ve seen him a couple times over the years. It’s been a minute since since we last saw each other but he’s the only one I’m in touch with at this point.’

Johnny Galecki, Juliette Lewis and Beverly D'Angelo (right) pictured with Chevy as the Griswold family in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Johnny Galecki, Juliette Lewis and Beverly D’Angelo (right) pictured with Chevy as the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 

Chevy (left) pictured with co-stars Beverly D'Angelo, Miriam Flynn, and Randy Quaid at Christmas Con 2023

Chevy (left) pictured with co-stars Beverly D’Angelo, Miriam Flynn, and Randy Quaid at Christmas Con 2023

Ellen pictured with Chevy and her onscreen brother, played by Cody Burger, as well as Randy and Miriam - who played her parents in the movie

Ellen pictured with Chevy and her onscreen brother, played by Cody Burger, as well as Randy and Miriam – who played her parents in the movie

Ellen confirmed that she will show the movie to her daughter Charlotte when she is older

Ellen confirmed that she will show the movie to her daughter Charlotte when she is older

The brunette also spoke about whether or not it’s weird seeing her former co-stars growing older and said: ‘People like Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis, who have been very much in the spotlight for all of these years, I’ve watched them grow so it’s it’s not as odd for me to see them where they are now. 

‘But Chevy Chase, it’s harder to see him old, just because… and even for me… I was in that movie and it still is an odd thing to see, sort of like it is to view a parent getting old,’ Ellen continued, before praising the actor.

‘He was a genius himself at his physical comedy, his comedic timing. There was a whole lot of ad libbing happening on set and in the movie itself, and he was superb at that,’ she divulged.

‘And he’s a likeable guy. His character and his facial expressions or the way that he delivers a line, or like I said, his physical comedy, it’s so enjoyable to watch and he made his career on his ability to do all of those things and to do them well and that’s what made him likeable. And still to this day, that’s why people love him.’

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