One of the biggest stars of the 1990s, Culkin has very specific recall of many of his myriad experiences throughout that decade, and yet inexplicably claims to have no recollection of some moments, like appearing in a Michael Jackson video. He admitted to a certain disconnect to that tumultuous but rewarding era of his young life, and is among the few that won't watch any "Home Alone" movies during the holidays, if at all.
"I don't really watch them all that often," he told Ellen. He even said there was a 15-year period between viewings at one point.
"It's just kind of background radiation at Christmas time kind of thing," the former child star said. "I've had people who want to sit down and watch it with me which is like both flattering and creepy. When I'm watching it I'm remembering that day on set, like how I was hiding my Pepsi behind the couch or something like that. I can't watch it the same way other people can."
Throughout the interview, the actor opened up about growing up in the spotlight and what it's like to have "Macauley Culkin's" face, even after all these years. Below are four more interesting comments.
The Price of Fame
Culkin may be able to enjoy the fruits of his labors, but it has come at a price. "I'm always treated differently, whether I like it or not," he said. As Ellen pointed out, Culkin still looks very much like himself as a child, whereas some child actors grow and change so much they're not instantly recognizable.
It's because of this that Culkin has admitted he doesn't go out much during the holidays, as those are prime "Home Alone" times. "It's my season," he joked, likening it to hunting seasons. And when he does go out, he's always accosted with people wanting him to do the aftershave scream face, which he won't do.
"No. I've already been there done that, you guys," he said. "I'm 37 now, okay, mom!"
When asked what it was like when he finally came into the money he had earned as a child, Culkin said, "I felt like some kid worked really, really hard and I inherited all his money. I had kind of no real sense." It was how it opened up his life that the money really made a difference.
"It allows me to treat everything like a hobby," Culkin explained of his wealth. "I do nothing for my dinner, nowadays. So I can just do all kind of projects that I want to do whether its writing or painting or a new website or whatever it is."
"The Most '90s Photo I've Ever Seen"
During another segment on the show, Ellen showed Culkin a series of photos from throughout his life, with most eliciting a chuckle or a reminiscing about that particular period of time in his life, like when he said he was in a band that modified Velvet Underground songs to be about pizza.
But when she showed him one picture, he quickly declared it "the most '90s photo I've ever seen." It was him, Jaleel White ("Family Matters" Urkel), Neil Patrick Harris (in his "Doogie Howser" days) and "Fresh Prince" era Will Smith. And yet, when a picture popped up of him from the set of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" video, he admitted no recollection of even being in that video.
It's actually remarkable when Culkin doesn't remember something, because it seems he has incredible recall. And that's a gift he's had throughout his life, apparently, if his response to seeing a picture from his "Saturday Night Live" hosting stint is anything to go by. It would also explain how he was able to maintain such a prolific filming schedule at such a young age.
Culkin remembered the bit seen in the photo (it was him and Mike Myers doing a "Simon" sketch) because, "I did the whole episode with cue cards." He said his father "was quite insistent about that." When Ellen pointed out that everyone, including the cast, uses cue cards, Culkin joked, "Yeah, well not the 9-year-old, I guess."