Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock; 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock
Joe Pesci "absolutely" knew Home Alone 2: Lost in New York would be a worthwhile sequel.
In an email interview with PEOPLE to celebrate the film's 30th anniversary, Pesci, 79, says that retaining the original cast and crew from 1990's Home Alone for the second installment gave the entire production "the same, if not more, energy and enthusiasm as the original."
The Academy Award-winning actor cited "more spontaneity and creativity on the set" since everyone on Home Alone 2 had worked together in the past.
"It was a nice change of pace to do that particular type of slapstick comedy," Pesci says, though he noted that his forays into comedy before Home Alone included roles in 1983's Easy Money and 1989's Lethal Weapon 2.
"But the Home Alone movies were a more physical type of comedy, therefore, a little more demanding," he adds.
Home Alone 2 follows Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) one year after the events of the original Home Alone as he accidentally boards a flight to New York City when his family goes on vacation to Florida for Christmas.
Sure enough, Kevin's run-in with criminals Harry (Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) pave the way for holiday-themed hijinks in Manhattan, providing for a beloved hero-villain dynamic between then-child actor Culkin, now 42, and Pesci's villain.
"I remember Macaulay as being a really sweet kid and, even at his age, very professional," Pesci says of working with Culkin. "I intentionally limited my interactions with him to preserve the dynamic between his character, Kevin, and my character Harry."
Pesci notes that he did not "want it to come across on the screen that we were in any way friendly" while shooting scenes with the young star.
"I wanted to maintain the integrity of the adversarial relationship," the actor tells PEOPLE.
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.
Kevin deals Harry a significant amount of pain throughout the original Home Alone movies, and Pesci says that he did actually sustain a significant injury in a memorable scene in which Kevin's booby traps set Harry's hat on fire.
"In addition to the expected bumps, bruises, and general pains that you would associate with that particular type of physical humor, I did sustain serious burns to the top of my head during the scene where Harry's hat is set on fire," the Goodfellas actor says, noting that he did the stuntwork required for that particular scene himself.
"I was fortunate enough to have professional stuntmen do the real heavy stunts," he adds.
Pesci only appeared in the first two Home Alone movies; the four sequels made after 1992 include new casts and storylines.
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
Asked whether he would ever consider reprising his role as Harry for a future installment in the franchise, the actor says that it would be "difficult to replicate" the innocent aura of the original films.
"While you never say never, I think that it would be difficult to replicate not only the success but also the overall innocence of the originals," Pesci tells PEOPLE. "It's a different time now; attitudes and priorities have changed in 30 years."
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is currently streaming on Disney+ as part of the streaming service's "Happy Holidays" collection.