Macaulay Culkin was the biggest child star of the 1990s, becoming not only one of the highest-paid child actors of all time, but also one of the most iconic. His movie Home Alone spawned a franchise and became a classic Christmas film. Culkin featured as a smart and savvy kid who frequently bested the adults around him, making him a perfect hero for American kids in the '90s.
After just a few years of success, however, he took a nine-year hiatus from acting, returning to participate in indie films while his siblings, Rory and Kieran, continued to work in various acting gigs. Culkin's career is a quintessentially Hollywood story, filled with the sadness of a tumultuous family life, thanks to his controlling manager/father, and the desire to escape the constant pressure of being a high-profile star. His films, meanwhile, remain rich texts for examination, filled with fascinating details that reveal the inner mechanisms of Hollywood production.
- Photo: Uncle Buck / NBC Universal1
Writer/Director John Hughes Got The Inspiration for 'Home Alone' While Shooting 'Uncle Buck'
Before he wrote the Christmas classic, Home Alone, John Hughes wrote and directed Uncle Buck. The prolific writer/director cast Macaulay Culkin in both films. The 1989 Uncle Buck includes a scene where Culkin's character, Miles, speaks to Chanice, the girlfriend of John Candy's Uncle Buck, through the mail slot.
Hughes was inspired from that scene to write Home Alone, and to cast Culkin as Kevin McCallister.Surprising fact?
- Photo: Home Alone / 20th Century Fox2
'Home Alone' Held The Guinness World Record For Highest-Grossing Live-Action Comedy For 27 Years
When Home Alone premiered in the US on November 10, 1990, it grossed $17,081,997 in 1,202 theaters during the opening weekend alone. It remained in theaters for 200 additional days, accumulating $285,761,343 - a staggering feat for a comedy movie, let alone a holiday film.
Home Alone retained its place as the top-grossing domestic live-action comedy movie for 27 years, until a low-budget Chinese flick, Never Say Die, surpassed it in 2017.Surprising fact?
- Photo: The Good Son / 20th Century Fox3
Macaulay Culkin's Dad Insisted He Act In 'The Good Son' If The Studio Wanted Him For 'Home Alone 2'
Macaulay Culkin's early Hollywood stardom was deeply rooted in his roles as cute prankster characters in Home Alone and Uncle Buck, but his father/manager Kit Culkin did not want him to become typecast. Kit wanted his son to star in the thriller The Good Son as the psychopathic Henry, and informed 20th Century Fox he would not let his son do the sequel to blockbuster Home Alone unless Macaulay received the role of Henry.
Although the film was set to begin production with an entirely different cast, Macaulay was a hugely bankable star for Fox, and the executives agreed to Kit's demands, delaying The Good Son for a year so that Home Alone 2 could wrap.
Most of the people who worked on The Good Son originally were not happy with the casting or Kit's demands, which included a role for his daughter, Quinn. However, the schedule change allowed Elijah Wood to join the cast, and although the movie was widely panned by critics, it made Fox a great deal of money and gave Macaulay the opportunity to demonstrate a wider range of acting skills.Surprising fact?
- Photo: Home Alone / 20th Century Fox4
Director Chris Columbus Got The 'Home Alone' Job After Clashing With Chevy Chase
Chris Columbus was originally hired by producer John Hughes to direct National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. When Columbus met Chevy Chase for dinner to discuss the film, the two did not hit it off. "He treated me like dirt," remembered Columbus. After a second disastrous meeting with Chase, Columbus called Hughes and told him, “There’s no way I can do this movie. I know I need to work, but I can’t do it with this guy.”
A few weeks later, Hughes sent Columbus the script for Home Alone and the director was delighted. Columbus recalled, "Wow, this guy is really supporting me when no one else in Hollywood was going to. John was my savior." Columbus went on to direct Mrs. Doubtfire, as well as the first two Harry Potter films.Surprising fact?