Macaulay Culkin Takes Another Role

ByABC News
December 12, 2000, 7:46 PM

— -- Macaulay Culkin admits he is somewhat of a mystery.

From 1990 to 1994, he was one of Hollywoods biggest properties, starring in movie after movie, including Home Alone, My Girl, and Richie Rich, where he played Americas wealthiest kid. The role was not much of a stretch for him he was the highest-paid child actor ever, reportedly making $8 million per film at his peak. Then, at the age of 14, Culkin seemed to drop off the face of the earth.

Culkin says his desire to have a normal life led him to stop working as an actor. [I was] starting off high school, so I decided to tell my mother, my representatives I dont wanna do this anymore, I wanna go to school, I wanna make friends so dont even bring up movies, dont even bring up acting, he says. I told them to call it retirement I never wanted to do it again.

But now, at the age of 20, Culkin is doing it again, acting for the first time in six years. Madame Melville, which recently arrived in New York from London is earning Culkin glowing reviews. In it he plays a 15 year old who is taught about love and life from an older woman.

He tells 20/20s Barbara Walters his return to public life and performing is something he now feels ready to do, and shrugs off the rumors that have swirled around for years that he spent the last six years battling drugs and alcohol. I always kind of felt that [the substance abuse] was almost expected of me in a way, thats kind of why I stayed away from it.

All Work, No Play

Culkin is the third of seven children. And while in the Home Alone films he has a loving family , albeit occasionally absent in real life, he says his father, Kit Culkin, was a constant and controlling presence. His mother stayed home with his brothers and sisters, his father traveled with him from one movie set to the next. Culkins father managed his sons career and is said to have alienated most of Hollywood with his rages and excessive demands.