Regardless of how the media has portrayed him throughout his adulthood, Macaulay Culkin actually seems to be at peace with the long, purposeful pause of his once-manic entertainment career.
Sitting down with the Guardian for his first interview in more than a decade, the now-35-year-old actor, along with his PR rep and manager, expressed that he’s more than happy with sporadically taking on projects than he was as a once majorly-bankable child star.
“People feel they have to be in perpetual motion, or drown,” Culkin explains. “I’ve never had a problem saying I’ve got nothing lined up. Maybe I’ll take the next year off. I’m not much active. If I knew what I wanted to do, I’d be writing it myself.”
His purposeful detachment from celebrity might seem shocking coming from the person who appeared in high-grossing films such as Home Alone, Uncle Buck, and Richie Rich, but it’s also wholly understandable when you look closely at Macaulay’s life. Following a rapid upbringing that, at one point, had him supporting his entire family, including Kit Culkin, Macaulay’s overbearing stage father, and equally talented brother, Kieran Culkin (one of Kieran’s first appearances was in Home Alone alongside Macaulay), the New York born-and-bred entertainer, who became legally emancipated from his parents at age 17, now chooses to live away from prying eyes in France, where he’s rarely approached by the media or anyone else who grew up watching him on movie screens.
“I [didn’t] just turn my back [on Hollywood],” he expresses, “[but] I actively don’t want it.”
Nonetheless, he is still occasionally followed by paparazzi, including back in 2012, where paps snapped a gaunt Culkin walking down the streets of New York City. Considering his past problems with drug use, which included a 2004 arrest for possession of marijuana, Xanax, and other substances (according to CNN), many believed that they were witnessing the downfall of one of the most popular stars of the late 80s and early 90s. Macaulay assured the Guardian that that wasn’t the case, but understood why people automatically jumped to such a dire conclusion.
“Of course, when silly stuff is going on, [people will worry],” he admitted, “but no, I was not pounding six grand of heroin every month or whatever. The thing that bugged me was [the] tabloids [were] wrapping it all in this weird guise of concern. [They were just] trying to shift papers.”
Despite his mostly quiet life away from the lights of Hollywood, he did revisit the character of Kevin McCallister from Home Alone for the dark comedy web series, :DRYVRS, in 2015 — there is a bit of spark that Macaulay holds onto when it comes to owning and living through his infamy, albeit by his own terms. He occasionally loans his voice to close friend Seth Green’s Cartoon Network series, Robot Chicken, and heads The Pizza Underground, a Velvet Underground tribute band that replaces most of the Lou Reed-led collective’s lyrics with odes to — you guessed it — pizza.
“It’s one of those good ideas you have when you’re drunk,” he jokingly stated, “and you wake up and forget about it. But we’re taking it to the end of the joke. We have an album coming out, a vinyl pressing with a children’s choir, a symphony orchestra. We’re giving it away, our gift to the world. I find it funny! We rhyme mushrooms with mushrooms, come on. It’s the same joke, relentlessly. Like, they’re really doing this?”
Overall, despite how many former child stars end up, Macaulay Culkin has seemed to mastered balancing out who he he wants to be nowadays, and the young child who once screamed in a mirror after burning himself with aftershave.
“Macaulay Culkin is out there,” he wisely said, “and I’m Mac. You guys can [only] play with the first one.”
[Photo by Vince Bucci/AP Photos]