“It was pretty nuts. And I think what people sometimes fail to remember, too, is that he was a kid. He didn’t really choose that,” the Succession star recalled to NPR in December 2021 of his sibling’s childhood fame. “It’s something that happened to him. And I think when you’re a kid, you obviously don’t have the tools to handle something like that. So I think it might have been pretty tough.”
He added at the time: “For me, I got to sort of experience it secondhand as a child. So to me, I always have known this is not something one would want to pursue. It’s not a very nice thing, fame. No anonymity, it’s terrible.”
Macaulay got his big break playing the mischievous Kevin McCallister in 1990’s Home Alone — a film in which Kieran had a brief cameo — after a series of smaller TV and movie roles. The Uncle Buck star’s brood came along for the ride, including his parents, Kit Culkin and Patricia Brentrup, and his multiple siblings.
Kit, who is an accomplished stage actor in his own right, and Brentrup share seven children together: Macaulay, Kieran, Rory Culkin, Quinn Culkin, Shane Culkin, Christian Culkin and Dakota “Cody” Culkin, who died in 2008 at the age of 29 following a fatal car crash. Kit, who has an estranged relationship with both Macaulay and Kieran, also shared daughter Jennifer — who died in 2000 after a drug overdose — with ex-girlfriend Adeena VanWagoner.
“I have been on this very stage [before]. I was on an episode of SNL back when my brother Mac hosted 30 years ago, almost to the day,” the Margaret actor recalled during his Saturday Night Live hosting debut in November 2021. “I was 9 years old. I got to be in three sketches, two of which are non-problematic and, at the end of the show, I got to be on the stage for the good nights and I think we have a clip … So, there’s my brother, and the cast has lifted him up on their shoulders and, boom there I am, clearly jealous.”
He continued: “My brother’s up there, got his arms up all victorious and I’m down there on the ground, like, ‘Me, I want uppies.’ I ask Kevin Nealon to pick me up and he goes, ‘Yeah, OK, sure,’ I just start hamming it up for the cameras, you know? I don’t know what that [facial expression] was, like, a [Robert] De Niro impression?”
Macaulay, for his part, has been equally proud of his brother’s Hollywood success.
“Oh s—t! My brother is at the Golden Globes?! That is so cool,” the My Girl star — who shares two sons with fiancée Brenda Song — quipped via Twitter in January 2019 after watching red carpet coverage of Kieran with the Succession cast. “HOLY S—T KIERAN IS NOMINATED??? WHAT IS SUCCESSION?! Man, I should really answer his calls more often. Thanksgiving is going to be really awkward this year.”
Scroll below for Kieran’s candid quotes about his relationship with big brother Macaulay: