Macaulay Culkin is back. The 41-year-old actor, who will forever be seen as a child in the “Alone at Home” films (among many others), plays one of the characters in the new season of “American Horror Story”. It premiered in the US on August 25th and there is still no date for arriving in Portugal.
Over the years, the pop culture star appears and disappears from the scene, in recent years more and more in public spaces – not least because he is regularly on social networks. That year, in April, he fathered his daughter Dakota Song Culkin for the first time. The mother is Brenda Song, an actress, singer and former Disney Channel child star.
Macaulay Culkin’s troubled past explains why he went from being one of Hollywood’s greatest stars to a life of relative anonymity, far from the public eye and shaped by problems such as substance abuse.
Before Macaulay Culkin became world famous, he lived in a two-room apartment with his parents and seven siblings. They were a humble family: the father, Kit Culkin, worked in the local church.
The patriarch was also a stage actor – albeit a rather frustrated one. When the kids started walking and talking, I took them to casting calls. The goal was for them to be successful in the middle, for the family to be successful and have a better life, for them to get out of this apartment. He did it with little Macaulay.
The son had an angelic charisma, his own charisma, and a great memory for memorizing lines – which was a valuable asset to the industry as a child. After a few important appearances in the 80s, he was engaged as the protagonist of “Sozinho em Casa”. I was ten years old. Screenwriter was John Hughes, who had directed little Culkin in “My Single Oncle” the year before.
“Alone at Home” was an incredible success. At the time, it became the third highest grossing film of all time. Kit Culkin quit his job and devoted himself entirely to the career of his son, whom he ran. The next few years would be intense, full of proposals, money, and Hollywood conflicts.
The Culkin family was quite humble.
The actor received the equivalent of around 240,000 euros for the role of Kevin McCallister. The following year, when he took part in “O Meu Primeiro Beijo”, he was the first child to earn a million dollars (the equivalent of 847,000 euros today) for working on a film. He was Hollywood’s new handsome boy.
In addition to “Alone at Home 2: Lost in New York” and other family comedies, he directed the thriller “O Bom Filho” – a project that was shaped by his father’s blackmailing of the 20th Century Fox Studios, which was also used for “Alone at Home “was responsible”.
Three weeks before filming for “O Bom Filho” began, the producers had already selected the main actor: Jesse Bradford. But Kit Culkin thought the role of a psychopathic son would be good for Macaulay to show his versatility, to show that he could play more dramatic roles. So he requested that Fox Studios hire his son.
The director of the film refused. A last minute change of actors would require several months of filming delay, lose millions of dollars in budget, and leave an entire crew out of work for several months. Kit replied that Macaulay wouldn’t record the sequel to Sozinho em Casa if his son didn’t get the role. And even demanded that they hire one of their daughters, Quinn, to play Macaulay’s sister in the story. The studio had to give in: They preferred to indulge in Kit Culkin and delayed this project than to forego “Alone at Home 2”.
There was a nine month delay, two directors went through the film and were fired. “O Bom Filho” was a box office hit. But Alone at Home 2 was a huge hit, and it turned out to be the right bet in Macaulay (although the Culkins got even richer with this film).
Kit Culkin returned to threats for the production of The Nutcracker. In a New York Times report, a producer described the case as “harassment, extortion and extortion.”
When the studios decided to add a narration by actor Kevin Kline to help clarify the film’s story – because kids who watched the film while testing it found the narration confusing – Culkin requested that they remove that voice from the film. More: Changes to sound effects and cast name order requested.
Kit Culkin was hated in the Hollywood industry – and there were already producers praying for Macaulay’s demise. “The people here wish, but wish, that the child stumbled. They’re waiting for their voice to change, ”said an anonymous producer in the same New York Times article. “That is the usual story. We used it when it was up, but as soon as it starts to fall, we like to push it down. “
Culkin had to testify in the Michael Jackson case.
“The Nutcracker” was a box office flop – and maybe the beginning of autumn for Macaulay Culkin. In the last year of his youth career, 1994, he shot “Father, Son and Sarilho”, “A Grande Viagem” and “Riquinho”. In the latter, he played a billionaire and a super unfortunate boy as his wealth kept him away from the real world of ordinary people. His real life wasn’t much different.
Macaulay had grown up in a room he shared with his brothers for the first few years of his life. Now that he had a mansion, his father made him sleep on the sofa so that fame and money wouldn’t go to his head. In advertising interviews, the young actor became reserved and aloof. “What do you do when you’re not making films?” Asked a reporter. “Interviews,” replied Culkin. “What do you think of the film?” Asked another journalist. “I didn’t have time to see it,” replied the actor.
His life was about to take a big turn. In 1995, Kit Culkin and Patricia Bentrup (the mother of the family) separated. They had never been married, but now, in addition to the custody battle, they had to choose their own careers – but other culkin had begun their professional careers as actors, albeit a far cry from Macaulay’s fame.
The couple did not have any property of their own; they lived exclusively on the statutory percentage that they received from their children’s income. Macaulay’s fortune was estimated at around 45 million euros at the time, but a year later it should decline again significantly. Both father and mother wanted everything: custody and career planning of their children.
Patricia Bentrup alleged that Kit was an alcoholic, was physically and mentally abusive, and cheated on her with other women. In another blackmail case, Kit Culkin threatened to take another of his children, Kieran, from the movie “Amanda” at the last minute if he didn’t get what he wanted.
That was where Macaulay came in. At the age of 14 he managed to forbid his parents from accessing his money by a judge, announced that he would no longer work as an actor and began to spend his fortune on more or less extravagant objects and experiences. Gradually he moved away from the limelight. He bought an apartment in Manhattan and spent days doing what he liked to do before his career as a movie star: skateboarding and watching wrestling matches. He never got along with his father again.
Now he takes part in “American Horror Story”.
Years later, Macaulay Culkin spoke about his father’s abusive relationship and the way he controlled him. “My father was a violent man,” he told Time magazine, quoted by El País. “Not so much physically, although there was some of it, but mentally. I asked for a break, I wanted to go on vacation for the first time in my life and he kept signing contracts for more films. Nobody listened to me. My dad had a huge bed and a huge TV and he let me sleep on the couch with my brother. He did this to break my spirit. That is why I reformed myself to disappear from the face of the earth. “
At the age of 18, he married actress Rachel Miner, a relationship that lasted only a short time. In 2004 he was arrested for possession of 17 grams of marijuana and two types of sedatives. In the same year he had to testify in the sexual abuse case against Michael Jackson. The King of Pop has been close to Macaulay (and other Culkin brothers) since he became known in childhood – but the actor, unlike other close ex-children, testified that the musician had never behaved inappropriately towards him, although he affirmed some has quirky habits of the author of “Thriller”. When he turned 14 and broke free from his parents, Macaulay also stopped visiting Neverland, which was owned by Michael Jackson.
The turbulent past has meant that Macaulay Culkin never fully recovered his career – perhaps of his own free will. From 2003 he appeared again in very sporadic projects, but often with several years intervals between the participations. Brothers Rory and Kieran continued to work together on a regular basis – Kieran was one of the most prominent actors on “Succession,” the HBO series that opens its third season in October.