Anyone who grew up watching movies in the ’90s certainly remembers the iconic screaming face of young Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. After he hit the screen a few years earlier in Uncle Buck alongside comedy legend John Candy, it seemed like every year Culkin was in another hit film that raked in millions.
However, attaining so much fame and wealth at such a young age didn’t come without some serious problems attached. Even though Culkin entertained millions of people with his adorable onscreen antics, his life offscreen was far from all fun and games — and he recently revealed the full extent of his troubles.
Whether he was outwitting home invaders in Home Alone or hanging out in his mansion in Richie Rich, Macaulay Culkin quickly became a household name in the ’90s. But, his success didn’t come without its struggles.
Culkin was born in August of 1980. His father, Chris, was an actor, so the knack for performing in front of a camera was in his genes. He had some small roles as a young child, but it was one particular role at age nine that really gave his career a running start.
That would be Uncle Buck. His co-star, legend John Candy, was already a name that drew crowds, so landing a spot with him meant millions of people would be exposed to Culkin. Well, moviegoers loved the young actor, and soon, he landed his most iconic role.
Starring as Kevin McCallister in the Home Alone only increased his star power. After this role, audiences knew they could expect laughter when they watched Culkin act, but in 1993, he threw them a curveball.
Fellow child actor Elijah Wood starred with Culkin in the thriller The Good Son, where Culkin played a disturbed child terrorizing his family. That same year, he again wowed crowds in a special live stage production.
Not only was Culkin involved in the classic tale The Nutcracker, but he actually played the role of the Nutcracker who fends off the Mouse King. He had movies and live theater under his belt, which drew the attention of a certain pop superstar.
The King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, became close with the young actor, even putting Culkin in his music video for the song “Black and White.” However, even though Culkin seemed to be everywhere at this time, his life wasn’t all a breeze.
His family, naturally, was thrilled at his success, but because he was too young to really have any kind of say regarding his finances, his parents used much of his money for their own personal gain. And his father seemed to be the hardest to deal with.
As his manager, Culkin’s father played a dominating role in his son’s career. Culkin said, “My father was overbearing. Very controlling. He was always the way he is, even before my success. He’d play mind games to make sure I knew my place.” However, at 14 years old, everything changed.
Life under the oppressive rule of his father and mother proved too much to handle, so he took his money, petitioned for emancipation, and left, taking a break from acting, maybe even for good.
Culkin has kept private about many of the familial details, but his relationships with women later in life were always tabloid-worthy. He might have taken a break from the limelight, but it certainly hadn’t taken a break from him…
His first relationship with his high school sweetheart, Rachel Miner, may have ended in marriage, but it only lasted a couple of years. It was his next relationship, though, that really got people talking.
Mac met Mila Kunis and sparks flew. The unlikely couple dated for eight years and then split, which, judging by what Culkin looked like afterward, hit him hard.
When this photo started circulating the tabloids, people all over assumed Culkin had developed a bad drug habit after the breakup. Whether or not he did was unknown, but he did, however, jump back into the world of acting after a long hiatus.
He did some stage work at London’s West End theatre and starred alongside Seth Green in the surreal film Party Monster. Then, in 2006, he took a stab at a different kind of project completely.
Writing! He penned a book called Junior, which was a somewhat-autobiographical memoir about his fame and family issues. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very well received, but Culkin’s artistic endeavors didn’t stop.
In 2013, he and a group of his buddies formed the musical group The Pizza Underground, which toured around the country. And even though he didn’t do much acting anymore, he did reprise one classic role.
He starred in a Google advertisement, where he played a grown-up Kevin McCallister from Home Alone. Plus, he also found himself in a seemingly amazing relationship with a new partner.
Her name is Brenda Song, and she, too, began her career in television at an early age. The two started dating in 2017, and it didn’t look like anything could get in their way. He also made the television rounds discussing the ups and downs of his life.
He was a guest on plenty of daytime talk shows, plus in August 2018, he joined comedian Joe Rogan on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience and talked about, among many other things, his unusual rise to fame as a young child.
Macaulay Culkin has already had a life full of incredible highs and some definite lows, but when you find immense success at such a young age, it’s nearly impossible to properly navigate the Hollywood terrain. Here’s to hoping for nothing but the best for Kevin McCallister from here on out.
Knowing so much about Culkin now would definitely make viewing Home Alone today different. And, with a little helping of some behind-the-scenes Home Alone secrets, you’ll likely never see the movie through the same lens again.
After getting a taste of Macaulay Culkin’s acting chops during his work on Uncle Buck, John Hughes actually penned the role of Kevin McCallister specifically for the young actor. Director Christopher Columbus did go on to audition over 100 other kids for the part, but who could turn down this face?
Watching Marv step on those glass ornaments is enough to make anyone cringe, but here’s the good news: they weren’t real. The ornaments were actually made of candy, and, just to be safe, Daniel Stern wore rubber feet in his barefoot scenes.
Joe Pesci is known for his aggressive personality, but while filming for Home Alone he took his method acting to a whole new level. Apparently, Pesci tried to avoid Macaulay Culkin at all costs while on set, hoping that the young actor would truly grow afraid of him.
But perhaps Pesci’s craziest bit of method acting came during the coat hook scene at the very end of the film. Pesci’s character threatens to “bite off” all of Kevin McCallister’s fingers, and during one rehearsal, Pesci actually bit Macaulay Culkin and broke the skin.
Ever tried to watch that classic mobster flick, Angels With Filthy Souls, that Kevin screens throughout the film? Well, you can’t. The movie – and its sequel from Home Alone 2, Angels With Even Filthier Souls – was made specifically for the Christmas classic.
While Home Alone served to springboard Macauly into superstardom, his younger brother Kieran also landed a role in the film as Kevin’s bed-wetter cousin, Fuller. Since then, Kieran has starred in a number of successful films and was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on HBO’s Succession.
The 1995 film Bushwhacked stars Daniel Stern as a delivery man framed for murder, but did you know that the movie was originally pitched as a spinoff of Home Alone? Stern would’ve reprised his role as Marv, who, after giving up his life of crime, is then framed for murder.
Though the film itself is just a story, the McCallister house is actually a real place in Winnetka, Illinois. Though only a handful of scenes were filmed on location (the vast majority were shot on a soundstage), the privately owned home remains a major tourist attraction in the area.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “wow, they definitely shouldn’t have survived that” after watching Harry and Marv fall victim to Kevin’s many booby traps, you’re 100% correct. A number of doctors have claimed that the trauma suffered should’ve maimed, or even killed, both men.
Inspiration can strike at any moment, and for John Hughes, the concept for Home Alone came to him while working on 1989’s Uncle Buck. Macaulay Culkin – who appears in both films – is seen interrogating a babysitter through a mail slot, which inspired Kevin McCallister’s antics through his home’s doggie door.
The bloodcurdling scream that Marv lets out at the sight of the tarantula on his face is one of the highlights of the film, but Home Alone fans will be heartbroken to know that the sound wasn’t genuine. Marv’s scream was dubbed in later, as a real scream would’ve scared the spider away.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Joe Pesci playing the role of Harry Lyme, but before the loud-mouthed actor landed the part he was almost beaten out by his Goodfellas co-star Robert De Niro. John Lovitz was also considered for the role, but after he and De Niro passed on it, Pesci swooped in and stole the show.
Everyone remembers the classic scene where Kevin zip-lines from the attic to his treehouse, but not many know that wooden structure wasn’t originally part of the property. The fort was constructed specifically for the movie, and after shooting it was promptly demolished.
Kevin’s neighbor, “Old Man” Marley, is an integral part of the film, but the character wasn’t actually part of the original script. Feeling that the story needed an extra dash of the sentimental, director Chris Columbus added Marley in at the last minute.
After debuting to the tune of $17 million in its opening weekend, Home Alone went on to become the highest-grossing film of 1990 and earned a Guinness World Record for the highest-grossing live-action comedy of all time in the U.S., a record it held until 2011’s The Hangover Part II.
Not only is Home Alone one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time, but its success also spawned an entire franchise. To date, the film has inspired four sequels, three video games, two board games, a novel, and tons of other McCallister-themed merchandise.
Hollywood is no stranger to using fake snow, but the bits of white plastic and wax used to make Home Alone‘s white Christmas actually went on to live a second life. After shooting wrapped, the production donated the fake snow to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, who then used it in a number of performances.
Shooting scenes can take a toll on an actor, but imagine doing them all in a single day? That was the case for John Candy, who shot all of his scenes as polka king Gus Polinski over the course of one long, 23-hour day.
While most believe that Home Alone is solely an American classic, it’s also hugely popular in Poland. Like in the U.S., the film is considered a staple of the Christmas season, and in 2011 alone over 5 million people tuned in for a dose of Kevin’s holiday hijinx.
The McCallister family’s trip to Paris may be one of the film’s biggest plot points, but in reality, they never left the state. Every scene – including those set on the plane and in the Paris-Orly Airport – was filmed in Chicago.
That’s right: Elvis Presley is still alive! At least, that’s what a few conspiracy theorists believe. According to a number of eagle-eyed Home Alone fans, the king of rock ‘n roll himself actually plays the part of a bearded extra in this airport scene. Not convinced? Then check out the video below!
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