Needless to say, adulthood hasn’t been particularly kind to Macaulay Culkin. After becoming the most successful child actor of all time, the blockbuster star has spent the last two decades hurdling over tabloids (dating Mila Kunis, rumors of heroin abuse) and popping up in oft-forgotten indie films (Party Monster, Saved).
In more recent years, however, he’s shaken things up by essentially becoming an Internet meme generator, what with his T-shirt battles with Ryan Gosling and his bizarre, cheesy side-project, The Pizza Underground. But don’t weep for Mac, because he’s currently living the most chill lifestyle of any 35-year-old out there.
At least, that’s what we gather from Culkin’s first big interview in over a decade. After years of evading press, the actor sat down with The Guardian’s Rhik Samadder while shooting a commercial in Spain to discuss his supposed comeback. Although, what that might entail remains up in the air as he has zero plans.
“People feel they have to be in perpetual motion, or drown. I’ve never had a problem saying I’ve got nothing lined up. Maybe I’ll take next year off,” he tells Samadder, adding: “I’m not much active. If I knew what I wanted to do, I’d be writing it myself.”
As expected, Samadder was told by Culkin’s three managers not to discuss anything negative — in other words, his childhood, his relationship with the late King of Pop Michael Jackson, and his past films. Still, that didn’t stop the writer from scratching the core of Culkin’s current id, and here are some choice quotes:
On avoiding the press:
“I don’t just turn my back, I actively don’t want it. The paps go after me because I don’t whore myself out.”
On his ensuing stardom:
“I have no idea. I was thinking about this the other day – I’d crossed the wrong street, picked up a tail, suddenly there’s a crush of 20 paparazzi. Then people with cameraphones get involved. I don’t think I’m worthy of that.”
On maintaining an adult life:
“You take on a prey-like attitude, always scanning the horizon. It’s strange on dates, as it looks like you’re not paying attention. But I’ve stopped trying to think of myself in the third person, because that’s just gonna drive me nuts.”
On thinking in the third person:
“Macaulay Culkin is out there, and I’m Mac. You guys can play with the first one.”
On mental health and spiritualism:
“I try to figure out what makes me happy – and not in a superficial way. I keep my soul fit. I know enough to know I don’t know. I was raised Catholic, so there’s a lot of guilt. We’re born with original sin. Since I was told that, I’ve been trying to come up with even more original sins, that’ll really blow my priest away at confession.”
“I’m very much at peace lately. I can debate with people, and my heart rate never changes.”
On Donald Trump:
“He’s like the Candyman, we have to stop saying his name.”
On The Pizza Underground:
“It’s one of those good ideas you have when you’re drunk, 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. Of course I find it funny! We rhyme mushrooms with mushrooms, come on. It’s the same joke, relentlessly. Like, they’re really doing this?”
On the reports of drug abuse:
“I was not pounding six grand of heroin every month or whatever. The thing that bugged me was tabloids wrapping it all in this weird guise of concern. No, you’re trying to shift papers.”
On what makes him happy:
“Home is where my boots are. I’m a big fan of jumping on people’s tourbuses, making myself useful, doing load-ins and outs. I do everything except the merch table. I tried that, but … we didn’t sell anything.”
On his past fortune and glory:
“It’s allowed me to become the person I am, and I like me, so I wouldn’t change a thing. Not having to do anything for my dinner, financially, lets me treat every gig like it’s the last.”
If you have the time, the entire piece is a fascinating read, even if certain topics were nixed by his managers. But what’s perhaps most fascinating is how Culkin, despite being decades removed from his supposed glory days, sounds like he’s the happiest he’s ever been. Weirdly enough, we’re still envious of Kevin McAllister.