Home Alone 2 Director Says Donald Trump Bullied 'His Way Into the Movie'
The outgoing president had a cameo role in a scene with Macaulay Culkin in 1992's Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
The filmmaker, 62, spoke about the 1992 sequel to his blockbuster Christmas film Home Alone in an interview with Insider on Thursday, recalling how he wanted to shoot a scene in the lobby of The Plaza Hotel, which was owned by the president, 74, at the time.
"Trump said okay," Columbus recalled. "We paid the fee, but he also said, 'The only way you can use the Plaza is if I'm in the movie.' "
The director continued, "So we agreed to put him in the movie, and when we screened it for the first time the oddest thing happened: People cheered when Trump showed up on screen. So I said to my editor, 'Leave him in the movie. It's a moment for the audience.' "
"But he did bully his way into the movie," Columbus added.
The White House did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The comedy follows Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) as he’s separated from his family on Christmas vacation and ends up in New York City on his own. In one scene, Kevin arrives at The Plaza Hotel where he asks Trump for directions to the lobby.
Trump has made numerous cameos in movies such as Little Rascals, The Associate and Zoolander. One movie in which Trump didn’t make it into was the 1992 film Scent of a Woman directed by Martin Brest.
“The deal was that if you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him in a part,” Damon said at the time. “Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman — and the whole crew was in on it.”
He continued, “You have to waste an hour of your day with a bulls— shot: Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, ‘Hello, Mr. Trump!’ — you had to call him by name — and then he exits.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
“You waste a little time so you can get the permit, and then you can cut the scene out,” Damon added. “But I guess in Home Alone 2, they left it in.”
In April 2017, Chris O'Donnell — who starred in the film with Pacino, Gabrielle Anwar and Philip Seymour Hoffman — told Conan O'Brien he and the cast received script pages that "said we're doing a scene with Donald Trump," according to Entertainment Weekly.
"It explained to us in that in order for us to film at the Plaza, we had a little walk-on part for Trump and [ex-wife] Marla [Maples]," he said. "I won’t shy away from this, he said, 'Yeah, they can shoot at the Plaza if they put me in the freakin’ movie.' "
O'Donnell also confirmed that Trump's cameo ultimately "got cut out of the movie."