In the decades since Party Monster and Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin has made few (if any) ventures into the mainstream. In the late ‘90s, he even passed on the lead role in what he later described as a “perfect movie”: Wes Anderson’s Rushmore. Instead, the 39-year-old has been working on his website, Bunny Ears; playing in the Pizza Underground, a cover band; designing socks; and prepping to have a baby with his girlfriend, the actor Brenda Song

Culkin has also steadily worked on smaller film projects, which recently seem to be increasing in scale. In February, he did his first photo shoot in 15 years for the cover of Esquire. And in the accompanying, expansive interview, he shared that he recently did his first audition in around eight years. (It was for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and in Culkin’s words, “a disaster.”) 

“No matter how much I act like a curmudgeonly old man, it’s still fun to get back in the saddle once in a while and play around,” Culkin told the magazine. “I enjoy acting. I enjoy being on set. [But] I don’t enjoy a lot of the other things that come around it.”

Ryan Murphy’s track record in the industry couldn’t be more different. The American Horror Story creator and executive producer has worked with seemingly every actor in Hollywood over the years, and always been keen on adding Culkin to that list. Now, it’s finally happening: Culkin has accepted a “very, very great insane part” in the next season of the FX anthology series.

So, what convinced him? Apparently, Culkin is extremely interested in portraying someone who’s intimately involved with the award-winning Murphy series regular Kathy Bates

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Kathy Bates at SXSW in 2019; Kathy Bates as Ethel Darling in American Horror Story: Freak Show (2015).
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Murphy doesn’t usually allow actors to read when he’s casting, but he made an exception for Culkin, who agreed to a phone call. “I said, ‘Okay, here's the pitch,’” Murphy told E! News. “And I told them the character and I told him he has crazy, erotic sex with Kathy Bates and does other things.” Apparently, it was right up Culkin’s alley: “He paused and he goes, ‘This sounds like the role I was born to play.’ So, he signed up right then and there.”

“I have always loved Macaulay Culkin's work,” Murphy continued. “I loved everything that he's done. I love the stuff he did in Home Alone. I also loved the sort of the older, more recent stuff that he did. And he hasn't worked in a while.” 

Prolific as ever, Murphy is already thinking beyond season 10 of AHS. “I’m excited for [Culkin] to be in my world,” Murphy continued, noting that while production has been postponed, the scripts are already finished. “I think he's fascinating and interesting, and I think he has a soul. There's both a lightness and a darkness with Macaulay Culkin that I'm attracted to.”

So far, details about their first collaboration are scarce. In fact, the only thing we know about Culkin’s character is that he’s sexually attracted to Bates. Her character also remains shrouded in mystery, but the possibilities are endless: Over the past seven years, the 71-year-old actress’s six AHS roles have ranged from a bearded lady to a socialite who tortures slaves.

Related: What Is Going on With Macaulay Culkin’s Instagram?