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HBO’s dynasty hit’s overactive breakthrough speaks candidly about Culkin’s growth, the behind-the-scenes dynamics of his screen family, and his early fear of Hollywood success: "I know I can’t handle it. So I literally Escaped it."
"My mother will always do this so quickly," Kieran Culkin said, as he sprinted through the exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York-the Cromannon family, some bighorn sheep, that was a huge millipede Bug? -When I scrambled to keep up. "She will come here with seven children, invest a quarter in admissions, and we will pass. We will crawl shit. The security guard will yell at us."
They were still yelling at him. Today, a guard recognized Culkin and shouted in a strong New York accent: "Roman!" Mentioned his character Roman Roy, his successor to the spotlight in HBO's "Inheritance", This Learian family drama will return to its third season on October 17th after more than a year of COVID-19 delay.
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We should eat deli sandwiches and then sit on the park benches. But it was raining, and Culkin suggested changing the venue at the last minute. His shoes were soaked, although not because of the drizzle. "My daughter and I ran through a fountain last night-these are my only shoes," he said, adding that his orange track shorts, rumpled short-sleeved shirt, and facial hair for a week were not complete. "Because there are no strollers, straw cups, diaper bags and everything. This is my life."
He and his London-born wife Sir Chardon had their second child, a son, in August. The 33-year-old Chatton is neither a “former model” nor a “folio artist”, as she described on the Internet, when she met her future husband in a bar in New York, she was working in an advertising agency The music department worked in 2012. "I said,'I'm Kieran. You have a British accent. What's your name?'" he recalled. "She said,'Jazz.' I said,'Jazz, do you like music?' She said,'Yes. I said,'Well, that's fucking stupid.'"
This made her laugh, and the two have fallen in love happily ever since. They got married in 2013. Until now, the couple and their eldest son have lived in the same one-bedroom apartment where Culkin lived in East Village for twenty years. They are currently relocating to a more spacious place in Brooklyn-for Culkin, this is equivalent to "moving out of this country because it is not Manhattan."
We turned a corner and suddenly immersed in the calm blue light of the Sea Life Hall. We sat cross-legged on the floor under the huge blue whale in the museum, like a few oversized children on a school outing. Adding to the sense of surrealism are dozens of real children on outings in actual schools around us. Above us—all 94 feet and 21,000 pounds—floats a life-size replica that was washed to death at the southernmost tip of South America in 1925.
"There are band-aids on it. Isn't it smart?" 38-year-old Culkin said, somewhere between sincerity and irony-his best point. (He often said "Fuck you!", like people say "That's great!" or "Don't be kidding!") I looked up: Sure enough, there was a 6-foot-long promotional bandage on the right fin— -Remind people that the lobby has recently been reconfigured as a COVID-19 vaccination center. What a long and strange year.
When Culkin was energetic and restless, I almost didn’t have time to digest all this. He led us to see a dim 3D model of another small whale, which was captured by a giant squid with the same name as the 2005 "Squid and Whale" Attack, Noah Baumbach's semi-autobiographical drama about the divorce of his parents.
"Every time we are here, my mother tells the same story," Culkin said. "She said:'We used to pick up the youngest child in the stroller and put them in front of the squid and the whale. Then each of us would run and hide. I would watch you struggle in that stroller. , Afraid, trying to get out, we all laugh. It's like,'Yes, good. It's just a small amount of trauma."
In the Baumbach movie, the son played by Jesse Eisenberg told the therapist that his best childhood memories were taken by his mother played by Laura Linney to see squids and whales. Although the sharp teeth and tentacles made him feel scared, the common experience brought them closer, and eventually he realized that the father played by Jeff Daniels had never really been by his side.
Culkin did not mention any of these, but there are undeniable similarities. His story also involves growing up in the wilderness of New York City in the 1980s, where he was unconditionally loved by his mother, but ignored by his stage father and father.
Of course, Kieran must also explore the chaotic entertainment family of Hollywood celebrities and his brother Macaulay, the biggest child star in several generations. Perhaps this is why Kieran-even though his peers generally consider a very talented actor, even a generation of genius-has actively resisted the attraction of stars in the past three years.
"I think he has a healthy suspicion of the dirty aspects of the show business," said J. Smith-Cameron, who played Roman’s closest ally, Gerri Kellman’s general counsel in Succession-a strange mixed image of a mother and Psychological foil. Damaged Waystar Royco heir.
(In fact, Smith-Cameron and her husband, film producer and playwright Kenneth Lonergan (Culkin frequently appears in his work) are his two closest friends and creative collaborators. Check out'J. Smith-Cameron'," Culkin said of this happy coincidence. "I said,'You are fucking kidding.'")
"From when he was a kid," Smith Cameron continued, "He knew what fame and attention should be like. I think it has always been:'It won't run me. I run it."
With his breakthrough on the lively Succession-its 1.2 million linear viewers actually underestimated its cultural influence (it won seven Emmy Awards in 2020, including outstanding drama series) and won Carl Nominations for the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards-the whole "fame and fortune" attention" thing is increasingly difficult to avoid for Culkin. However, there are signs that he may finally be ready to accept it. At least, he has Ready to accept the performance.
"I tried to remember the exact moment it hit me," he said, staring into the abdomen of the huge blue whale like a starry sky. "I think it was at the end of the first season. I remember going home and thinking,'This is the life I want. I think I want to be an actor. I was 36 years old. I've been doing it for 30 years. "
Some of Culkin's earliest memories include being led by his father into Central Park and posing in an 8 by 10 headshot pose. The family lives in a railroad apartment on East 94th Street and Second Avenue — basically a long studio. Kieran is the fourth child born, sandwiched between the three oldest people (Shane, Dakota-killed by a car in 2008-and Macaulay) and the three youngest people (Quinn, Christian and Rory). His father Kit gave birth to another daughter, Jennifer, with his ex-girlfriend in 1970. Jennifer died of a drug overdose in 2000.
A former stage actor, Kit served as a communion at St. Joseph's Church in the Upper East Side of New York, providing children with free Catholic school education. At the same time, Culkin's mother, Patricia, was in ragged clothes, leaving five boys and two girls two years apart from each other, without worrying about food and clothing. She did this while doing night shift work for the telephone answering service of a drama casting company. "She must be crazy, but she said she was very happy," Culkin said of his mother, one of 11 children in North Dakota; she is currently visiting in Montana to help them call Tito People. (They haven't determined the child's name yet, so Tito is a placeholder.) Patricia and Kit broke up in 1995 (they never married); she married ten years ago and moved to her husband's ranch. "He treats me very well," Culkin said of his stepfather. "He gave me a horse."
In Culkin's house, learning is never a necessity. None of the four bosses finished high school. "I kept thinking,'I'm going to be in class,'" Kieran said, "but I didn't." Instead, the focus is always on auditions. It started when a neighbor, a stage manager working at the Manhattan Light Opera House, heard that they needed some children to make. "He said,'Well, I know these people. There are six or seven of them, and I think my father is an actor. Maybe they will be interested,'" Culkin recalled. "It started like this. Soon it became a place like,'Of course, do you want children? What gender? What age? Yes, we have a bunch. Come on, get this." Culkin was 6 years old Started auditioning with his brother and sister. "I just like it," he said. "It's very interesting to me."
His first role was to play the cousin of his brother Kevin McAllister in Home Alone. Of course, this movie will change everything about Calkins. They will soon live in the brownstones of the Upper East Side, and Kitt’s shameless demands on behalf of his superstar son will alienate half of Hollywood. ("Kit Culkin's request resulted in a one-year delay in filming, script changes, and revolving doors for directors and producers," the New York Times reported in an article titled "The Nutcracker" in 1993 behind-the-scenes chaos, "It seems terrible that the father of the child star is a child.")
For Kieran, none of this really sinks. He was just a happy 7-year-old kid when he was filming "Home Alone", enjoying the ride. At the age of 9 years old, huge hazel eyes drooping, very cute-this is a characteristic inherited from Kit-he played Steve Martin and Diane Keaton's youngest son Marty in "Father of the Bride" · Banks (Matty Banks). This play allowed him to stay in Sheraton Universal Studios for three months. The days were very happy, but at night, only the father could talk, and he felt lonely.
Unlike Macaulay, he said in his 2007 memoirs and 2007 memoirs that Kit had physically and mentally abused him, and Kieran said that he did not have "crazy, negative, terrifying, traumatic experiences" like child stars. Macaulay’s experience was terrible. He retired at the age of 15 and was liberated from his parents—removing their names from his trust and appointing an independent executor to monitor his income—in their own The painful division and the ensuing battle for custody. As Macaulay told Marc Maron's WTF podcast in 2018: "My father is jealous of me. He is a bad guy. He is abusive. I was good at everything he tried to do in his life before I was 10 years old."
Kieran insists that Kit has never abused him-either physically or emotionally-"but," he added, "he is not a good person, and, yes, may not be a good parent." He mentioned him What the father did to his mother, but refused to give details. He only remembered that his father had always been an unwelcome presence in the family. "He didn't really take a shower," he said. "He just stinks. I remember thinking,'I guess all dads smell bad." Once, a complete stranger turned to the father in the line and said, "Sir, I think your smell is offensive. "On another occasion, Kit disappeared for three weeks. Throughout the process, none of Culkin's seven siblings mentioned his absence. "I never thought of him as a dad," Kieran said. "He doesn't really belong here, it makes the most sense when he finally leaves forever."
On the contrary, their godfather Steve is the central male figure in their lives. When Patricia is busy breastfeeding or packing lunch, he will take them on the subway and Central Park outings.
In 2014, Kieran's brother Shane told him that Kit was heading to Broadway from Oregon to watch his "This Is Our Youth", which was Kieran's previous Lonergan play in London's West End. His father recently suffered a severe stroke, which greatly affected his ability to speak, think and act. Culkin put his father's name on the guest list and greeted him backstage. This was the first time they looked at each other in 17 years. "He carried the card with him, and it said,'I'm not stupid. I understand you. I just had a stroke,'" Kieran recalled. "He told me his girlfriend had dementia and was in a bad situation. So I said,'So when you go somewhere, she doesn't know where you are going, and you can't communicate how you got there. Yes. He said, "Yes-we are a couple. "" The two didn't speak again after that. I asked him if he was moved by his father's visit. "Fuck," Culkin replied. "I don't care." (Attempting to contact Kit through his sister, die-hard actress Bonnie Bedria, but to no avail.)
Regardless of Kieran’s success as a child star, Macaulay dwarfs that of Macaulay, who earned $8 million in paydays for movies like Rich Ritchie and wandered around with Michael Jackson at Dreamland. (Macauley has always denied that the pop star did any improper activity with him during these visits.) Most of the things Kieran witnessed around his brother disturbed him. "He will be harassed in the street," he said. "One time, a woman took off his hat, looked at him and said,'Yes, that's him! You're not that cute. Then handed the hat back and walked away."
(Macaulay, Kieran, and Rory appeared in Lonergan's 2000 film "You Can Count on Me", and they are used to being mistaken for each other. "When I was making a movie about the father of the bride, this woman ran to me I said, "Are you Macluckly Macluckly?" I said, "No." She said, "Can I take a picture?" I said, "I am not him." In my heart, I was thinking, "No one That.' ")
As Culkin said, there are three projects that "define my life." One is inheritance; the second is our youth; the third is the fall of Igby. The last one is a classic of minor growth in 2002, which is on par with "The Catcher in the Rye" and "The Graduate". The film, written and directed by Burr Steers, has been admired since its initial release. It tells the unfortunate experience of a satirical preparatory school dropout, surrounded by the Hamptons The abominable rich and indifferent relatives who spend the summer.
Culkin's performance as Igby attracted Hollywood's attention and earned him his first Golden Globe nomination at the age of 19. He attended the awards ceremony with Emily Gerson Sainz, and he has been the same manager since he was 12 years old-that was 27 years. ("The only reason I have any career today is because of Emily," he said.) It can and should lead to bigger things. The offer is coming. But Culkin was not interested. "I am definitely not ready," he said. "I can't handle it, I think I know it. I won't be able to deal with any success or attention that this brings. So I really avoided it."
Culkin reappeared in 2005, appearing with Anna Paquin in the off-Broadway drama After Ashley. "I thought,'I think I can play that. It's also a small house. No one will see it. It feels safe and I can do it." Occasionally, he would play a small movie role, such as Wallace, "Cool gay roommates" in the 2010 Scott Pilgrim Wars World.
Then he gained a foothold in This Is Our Youth, a story of privilege and youth nihilism set in New York in 1982. When the show was staged in London, he played milquetoast Warren, "the world's most dangerous underwear maker", who stole $15,000 from his father. But for the Broadway show, he realized that the one he responded most was Dennis-the fast-talking, swearing but charismatic drug dealer. His performance has aroused enthusiastic reviews, and Ben Brantley of The New York Times called him "an interesting and irritating alpha narcissist. His will is to control the boundaries of the mentally ill."
Smith-Cameron worked with Culkin in Lonergan's 2009 off-Broadway drama "Stars" and Lonergan's 2011 film "Margaret". He said: "He is the most I have ever worked with or even seen. One of the most active actors with the opportunity. He was very creative, but... was released. He was only at the highest level in his game." Lonergan agreed, adding that Culkin has "I have never been in The unique combination of runny nose and fragility that anyone else has seen."
Undeniably, Lonergan added that his friends may be "annoying people." ...Do you know that when you are on the beach, the weather is good, and then it starts to turn into night, all these little flies come out and start biting you? It's kind of like that. He likes to annoy others-but he also makes sure that he has not done too bad things. I have never quarreled with him for more than 24 hours. "
Culkin’s manager passed the pilot script to Inheritance in 2016. As the story goes, the casting director wants him to read aloud to his clumsy cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun). Instead, Culkin recorded three Roman scenes on tape and sent them in. "He was our first kid in casting," Succession creator Jesse Armstrong recalled, knowing he had found his Rome scene on Culkin's tape within a minute. "I have a feeling of gratitude and relief: you wrote a section, you have a rhythm or the feeling of a person, but you are not completely sure whether this person exists in this world, or whether your rhythm is suitable for anyone. Look. It’s very gratifying to see someone doing this "right". Or more importantly-you have a partner, which means you can dance around the world."
Culkin borrowed from all of his brothers and sisters when he evoked Roman's rhythm-but especially Dakota, aka Cody, who shortened her life in a car accident in 2008 while crossing Lincoln Avenue in Marina del Rey. She is 30 years old. "Kodi is funny, man," he said. "She must be the most interesting person in the family, and she has a very dark sense of humor." He described his sister as very shy-she has no interest in acting-likes other people's misfortunes. Someone tripping on the sidewalk would make her laugh. For some reason, one of her phobias is the thought of meeting friends or acquaintances while carrying a pizza box. Kieran always thought it was hysterical.
In the premiere of the third season of "Inheritance", Roman made a hideous face during a heated argument with his sister Shiv, played by Sarah Snook, and said: "Dur-dur-dur-dur- durrr!" This is the triumph of the regressive sibling dynamics. "That's hers," Culkin said. "This is just Cody's action. You can never be angry with her, because even if she is wrong--"Dur-dur-dur-dur-durrr! "-Then she won the argument. Cody is very Romanesque. It's as if Roman was portrayed by Darlene in "Rosanna". Darlene Connor played Roman Roy."
Cody's death destroyed this tightly bound family. "This is the worst thing that has ever happened. There is nothing to hide," Culkin said. "Every one of us handles it very differently. I think everyone is torn apart in it. 13 years have passed, how is it now? Damn. It's crazy. Jesus fucking Christ. I accepted it at the time. It will be forever, and it will never be good. It will always be devastating. I still don’t know where to cry. Some interesting things she did will suddenly appear in my mind and make me laugh, Then I cry. Sometimes I know that she won't see my children, and they won't have her, and it's hard to describe what she looks like."
The next evening, I met with Culkin at Wollensky's Grill, an informal annex of Smith & Wollensky, an old steakhouse located on 49th Street and Third Avenue. "Since the fucking blockade", he has been dreaming of a Smith & Wollensky steak for two years, and this place has recently reopened for indoor dining. It is crowded, noisy, noisy, very New York, and a large group of people enjoy thick meat together.
"I'm not Mr. Energy Male, so that's why I am confused," Culkin said, and Volensky's traction on him is like a tractor beam. "I like steak. This is a good steak. And this is a good fucking martini."
Culkin shared a story about Macaulay: "I think of this every time I go to a steakhouse. Look, I always confuse Prime rib with rib eye-because they both have the word "rib." Love, the other one I don’t love. Mac said, “Well, it’s very simple. This is a simple way of remembering: "I"-he pointed to his own eye-"Love the rib eye". Then he said, " Or you can remember it,'I'-he pointed to his eyes again-"I don't like rib eyes." It laughed hard at me. "
"But it won't help you remember," I noticed in confusion.
"It doesn't," he said. "He did this to fuck me. Twenty years later, I still can't remember-"I like rib eyes" or "I don't like rib eyes"? That bastard caught me."
After a long period of consideration, our waiter, a sloppy and amiable man named Matt Midnight ("This is a very long story," he said, but did not say it) made a suggestion: "You know What can we do? You can make sirloin, and you can make ribeye, and then you can share-so you can eat two different steaks at the same time."
"I like this idea!" Culkin said.
"I can cut them," Midnight said.
"Fuck you," Culkin said. "That's great."
After two martinis and a rib eye (he likes rib eye), I looked around for some successor gossip. "Snook and J. are probably the favorite people in my life," he said. "I think Snook, especially, I feel most comfortable doing anything."
Culkin always referred to his Australian-born screen brother as Snook, not Sarah. "I guess it’s because my brother’s wife is Sarah. So she is Sarah. Besides, this is fucking Snook. Who else is Snook? It’s actually pronounced Snook"—and "kook" "Rhymes—"But I can't even understand that.'Snooky Snook. She has various nicknames. Some of her friends call her Sally Snacks."
Snook is the most beloved person on the set. "It's like everyone on the entire board said,'She's an amazing woman,' almost everyone is at fault," Culkin said. He was surprised to find that she had used her dime to book a coffee and pastry truck to allow the crew to maintain caffeine during the arduous night shooting. She is also the most interesting improvisation. "I would just throw the ball at Snook, and she would catch the damn ball, then bounce it back into my face, and then hit my face with an elbow. This is just the most interesting sibling dynamic on the set. As Our characters, we can play around and be cruel to each other. This is more interesting because there is only pure happiness and love between the two of us."
Jeremy Strong (Jeremy Strong) as Roman’s brother Kendall’s work dynamics is slightly different. He launched a comprehensive against his father Logan (Brian Cox) at the beginning of the new season. ’S rebellion to control the family media empire. “It’s funny, when I improvise with him, when he walks into the room, I often talk about how ugly Kendall is,” Culkin said. "I walked up to him between the shots and said,'You know I don't actually think you are really ugly, do you? That was my attempt to disarm you as a Roman."
"There are a lot of people in our role," Strong revealed later. "I may have quite a lot of Kendall, and Kieran also have quite a lot of Romans. People often say that you can't see Roman when he comes. In this sense, Kieran also has a witty and jovial smoke screen-but Behind it is a very sober, serious, highly coordinated individual and a very powerful artist. He reminds me of Robert Downey Jr. He must be the opposite of someone who takes himself too seriously. This is very cute . It depends on whether the rest of us take him seriously, and we did."
The recently announced "Successor" character poster features a serious-looking Roman and Gerry; Roman sits down while Gerri stands behind him and dominates, reaching into his unbuttoned shirt. It ignited the Internet. Will they eventually succumb to their common quirky desires and be promoted to the status of power couples in the third season? No one said-but it has even reached this point, which is pleasant for both Culkin and Smith Cameron.
"I remember saying to my wife in the first season,'I really hope that something sexual or romantic will happen between these two people, but I don't know it will happen,'" Culkin recalled. "But we will definitely try. I will flirt with J. in the most annoying way, just to fuck." During the filming of the first season finale, Shiv's wedding was held in a Scottish castle, and the two characters spontaneously turned Turn around to check each other's ass. "I remember the screenwriters laughed," Smith Cameron recalled, "but I never thought it would affect anything they wrote."
By the second season, Roman and Gerri's naughty duet dance has become a classic. For Roman-his sexual development was wrongly transformed somewhere in the dog cage when he was a child-Culkin thinks all this is wrong. "Because this shouldn't happen. It's like,'Can you imagine what Dad would think? Or maybe she was Shiv's godmother? When I was a kid, she probably used to tie my shoes-now we fucking That's why. I think if at any time Gerri turns to him and says, "Take off your pants, we fuck," he would say, "No, no, mother! "Then run."
Heir’s writer played a game. It is called a dangerous sausage. Culkin attributed it to finally letting him relax around his boss Armstrong. "Jesse is cute," Culkin said. "But no matter what the reason, I can't break that wall. I always think he is a little scary. I hate that because I like to feel that I will never be intimidated by anyone."
Therefore, during the New York City blockade, Armstrong and his writer partners Tony Roach and Lucy Preble invited Culkin and Snook to join their dangerous band. According to Culkin, it works like this: "You introduce this group to watch what you think is a fucking great movie-a great movie. But it's a dangerous blockbuster because you haven't After watching it, everyone’s reaction may be that this is a really bad movie." Culkin chose the big trouble of Little China. (Boom.) Preble chose the Los Angeles story. (It's also a stick.) "Playing a dangerous stick with Jesse makes me feel,'I don't know why I'm so fucking afraid of this guy,'" Culkin said.
"I'm embarrassed," Armstrong later admitted to a dangerous sausage entry of his own. "This is a climactic choice. But this is the battle of Algiers," he said, referring to the 1966 neo-realist classic. "I worry, according to the very, very, very cruel terms of the "Dangerous Bang Bang" rules, this is a failure-because I think at least one player is asleep. That is a failure." Armstrong Nicholas in 1997 Cage had better luck in his outing: "It turns out that Con Air is a real dangerous Banger. It can hold up. There is no sleep. We are all impressed with Con Air."
Culkin told me all this because midnight showed us the internal organs of Smith and Volensky, which runs under Lexington Avenue. There is a dry aging room. A wine cellar. Barrels of condensed fat. Everything is a bit vague, because we drank a few glasses of wine and walked faster than when we were in the Natural History Museum. Suddenly, we went back to different bars in different rooms upstairs-maybe even different restaurants. "That guy's name is also Qin Ran!" Midnight said, pointing to a bartender who was wiping a beer glass. Two Kieran beckoned to each other.
"What's the next step?" I asked Culkin in a quiet moment of contemplation.
"Let's go to The Cock in the city center," he said.
"I mean what is the next step in your career?"
"Oh," he said. "My agent is relatively new to me. They sent me four scripts and I spent some time reading them. I thought,'You have to understand. We are moving and we are about to give birth to a baby. , And I mainly take care of a toddler. I think I’m going to call this paternity leave. They got it.”
Before we parted ways on a busy New York street corner at around 11pm, Culkin shared another story about a friend, also an actor, who recently gave him some career guidance that he thought was good.
"He told me:'If you say no, that's good-life goes on, you are good. But if you say yes, all of these... things... will happen. I thought,'This is really good advice He said, "This is what you told me. Obviously, I gave him the exact advice a year ago. I forgot. I thought, "Damn, I never accept my advice." Then he called I got a taxi and disappeared into the night.
This story first appeared in the Hollywood Reporter on October 6. Click here to subscribe.
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