Candidly Culkin

Macaulay Culkin isn't your typical child star. Sure, he made millions as the adorably mischievous boy in the "Home Alone" films. But at age 14, he walked away from Hollywood -- and the fast-paced partying life that has landed so many child stars in rehab before they're out of adolescence.

There is, however, something Culkin shares with many other child stars: He's struggling to find appropriate adult roles for himself.

"It's a very fragile business that I'm in. … I'm incredibly picky, and I've always said that I'm more picky than my position allows me to be."

He has returned to acting, appearing most recently as Roland, Mandy Moore's brother in the 2004 film "Saved!" But Culkin, still boy-faced at 25, says strangers continue to ask him to strike his trademark pose from "Home Alone," slapping his cheeks wide-eyed and slack-jawed.

It's not something he relates to anymore, he said to Barbara Walters in an interview airing tonight on "20/20."

"It's as if I'm stuck in the past, or something like that. And it's not something I really feel comfortable doing."

'Just a Cool, Groovy Little Book'

Culkin's not particularly concerned about the lack of roles. "I'm only moderately jaded at this point," he said to Walters.

He's saved his early earnings and says he's financially secure. So, he's not particularly worried about his career. "I am secure. Hopefully, you know, it'll all still be there. And my kids will go to college, and that whole kind of thing. I'm very fortunate, because I like my life. I like the way it is. I lead a very, very simple life."

With his free time, Culkin has taken on a highly personal and unconventional project, publishing a new book called "Junior." With quizzes, cartoons, poems and musings, it's an unusual and playful pastiche.

Culkin told Walters he wasn't expecting "Junior" to be praised as high literature. In fact, he prefaces his book with this statement: "I want to make one thing clear before we begin. I'm not a writer."

So why would he publish a book?

"I've always written, and it's never really been for anyone's benefit. … I just kind of put this collection together. I showed it to some people, and they said, 'That's great. Maybe you should make more of it.' And so I did. And it just kind of kept going, and it snowballed into this book," he said.

"I just hope that it finds a small audience somewhere that will appreciate it and take it for what it is. I'm not expecting people to think it's the next great American novel, because I don't think it is. It's just a cool, groovy little book, and I hope people like it. That's all."

On Michael Jackson's Seclusion

Culkin insists the book is not an autobiography, but the main character, Junior, happens to be a child star. He describes events in Junior's life that certainly bear a resemblance to his own, but he doesn't touch on the aspect of his life that has fueled tabloid headlines over the years -- specifically, his relationship with Michael Jackson.

He says that he and Jackson speak only a few times a year, and that he hasn't spoken with him in several months. He says he sees the negative effects of child stardom in Jackson's life.

"I think he's really disassociated himself from society. … If you could put him out in the world right today, I'm not sure if he could really function properly," he said.

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