Macaulay Culkin was on his first Hollywood set at age 7, was one of the most famous people in the world by age 10, and his career was effectively over by 14. Think about that for a moment — then ponder how remarkable it is that now, at age 35, he still has a smile on his face.
Hollywood history is littered with the names of children — Carl Switzer, Gary Coleman, Brad Renfro — intoxicated with fame and then cast aside by society like a used popsicle stick. But what’s interesting about Culkin is how he continues to “own” his typecasting, popping up in unexpected and increasingly-creative appearances.
Could Kevin from “Home Alone” be on the verge of a Neil Patrick Harris-like renaissance? Check out 5 times that Culkin has owned his obsolescence, then judge for yourself.
In a strange new commercial for the movie ticket site ComparetheMeerkat.com, two friendly CG creatures named Aleksandr and Sergei are driving around in an RV. When one of them mentions that he invited the former child star along for the ride, they discover a man-bunned, seemingly-high-on-life Culkin who acts as if the meerkats are some sort of surrealist fantasy.
Last December, Culkin stunned and delighted his old fans by finally appearing once again as Kevin McCallister — albeit, a grown-up, chain-smoking, long-haired Kevin who drives an Uber (rather poorly) and has a tendency to rant about the cruelty of his mother leaving him home alone.
Quite possibly the best running gag of the 2015 TV season had comedian Jim Gaffigan of “The Jim Gaffigan Show” frequently bumping into Macaulay Culkin at various venues around New York, but never quite certain whether it was really him. In one episode, Culkin would be a barista; in the next, a DJ. The frequently-flustered Gaffigan was afraid to ask, just in case he might be wrong.
Earlier this year, Culkin participated in “Adam Green’s Aladdin,” a visually-distinctive, experimentally-minded and decidedly NSFW indie film created by the singer-songwriter from The Moldy Peaches. Alongside Natasha Lyonne and Alia Shawkat — two other talented actors who have impressively side-stepped the typecasting of their early careers — the film further cemented Culkin’s refreshingly new persona: This isn’t a desperate former child actor looking for work, but a household name with nothing to lose and an artistic side to embrace.
The Velvet Underground were the musical embodiment of late ’60s experimental expression; pizza is a food that anybody can get on any street corner. In late 2013, Culkin and some friends combined two revelations: That Andy Warhol is worth paying tribute to and that it’s hilarious to replace words of songs with the names of pizza toppings. The Pizza Underground was born.
In New York clubs, Culkin and his friends would play VU-influenced songs like “All Pizza Parties (to the tune of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”) and “Take a Bite of the Wild Slice” (for “Walk on the Wild Side”), and then hand out free pizza to the crowd. On one hand, it’s absurd — but on the other, when society dismisses you as obsolete at age 14, the best revenge comes to those who can laugh last.