Sept. 5, 2003 -- In a candid, exclusive interview with 20/20's Barbara Walters, actor Macaulay Culkin says he relished the opportunity to play notorious "club kid" and murderer Michael Alig in his new film, Party Monster.
Watch the full report on 20/20, tonight at 10 p.m.
"I don't want to do what I did before. Before it was you know, it was like people's livelihoods were on the line … they like built an industry out of me," he says. "It was just this really odd dynamic that I think made me uncomfortable for a lot of my young life.
"I'm not one of those people who needs that gratification of doing like 10 films a year … I'm just trying to be, you know, an artist."
Culkin describes his strange visit with Alig at Attica State Prison in upstate New York during his research for the role.
"We spent four hours at the prison. I'd never been to prison before," he tells Walters. "I kind of just was listening and I was watching how his hands moved … He seemed remorseful, but at the same time he was putting up this facade. He was putting on the 'Michael Alig' act for me, the wild and crazy guy."
The former child star of the Home Alone movies tells Walters that he has a dark side, too. "I guess you can say that. But not anywhere near as dark as him. It's so easy to see me as this wicked, little thing, you know? This wicked little like, you know, blond- haired kid, making trouble for everybody."
Culkin also talks with Walters about the latest exploits of his childhood friend, Michael Jackson.
20/20's season premiere also features correspondent Bill Ritter's jailhouse interview with Alig.
Culkin says he has no regrets about his early rise to fame. "I wouldn't trade any of my experiences for anything in the world. I'm very happy with who I am, and where I've ended up and I wouldn't change one thing. Because if you change one thing in the past, everything else is different."
Culkin, who was married and divorced by 19, denies tabloid rumors of an impending marriage to his current girlfriend, That 70s Show actress Mila Kunis.
"We're not engaged. We're not getting married," says Culkin. "I have a very, very beautiful, very wonderful relationship with somebody. It's going very well … We try to keep our private lives private and our public lives separate … but it's a good thing."