Two years after finally making it to Wally World, Chevy Chase returned as Clark Griswold, this time leading his family on an ambitious cross-Atlantic vacation to Europe. Although John Hughes returned as the screenwriter, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” director Harold Ramis was succeeded by Amy Heckerling, not too far off the success of her debut film, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
According to Nick de Semlyen, author of “Wild and Crazy Guys,” the decision to go with Heckerling as director didn’t sit well with the film’s star. Chase wanted original “Vacation” director Harold Ramis for the sequel, but Ramis was busy with “Ghostbusters.” The tenuous relationship between star and director made for an unpleasant production. After “European Vacation” finally wrapped, Chase didn’t see himself returning to the series. According to de Semlyen’s book, the actor said:
“The first was enjoyable, the second was hard and there was a different chemistry. I won’t do another. It would be a waste of time.”
The 31-year-old director might have been in over her head. On just her third feature film she was paired with a notoriously cranky star and shipped to another continent for a three-month film shoot across several European locations. The recipe for disaster proved to be just that.