For a guy who has actually not spent much of his life actively persuiting an acting career, Macaulay Culkin has inhabited some pretty iconic roles both as a child (Home Alone, for starters) and during his brief spell actively starring in movies as an adult (Party Monster). Though, between 1994 and 2003, the actor was in a self-imposed retirement, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t directors still trying to work with him. In fact, during his recent Reddit AMA, the actor revealed he was sent one script for a role that went on to be iconic: Max Fischer in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, a character that ultimately made Jason Schwartzman a star.
Perhaps you’re sitting there thinking, “Damn, that would have been perfect.” Culkin, in some ways, probably could relate hard to those Tenenbaum kids, and Anderson might be our first choice to direct a Culkin biopic. Apparently Culkin has some regrets about it as well. He revealed the tidbit when asked if there was ever a movie he passed on that he wished he had made.
“I was sent the script to Rushmore; I was still retired then,” he said. “That’s a perfect movie.”
Indeed, Culkin in the role might have been perfect as well, especially when you remember that the role of Max was originally meant to be a bit more reminiscent of something like a young Mick Jagger type.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and it’s easy to see why Culkin wouldn’t have followed through on Anderson’s solicitation. For one, as he notes, he was retired at the time. For another, Anderson wasn’t the blue-chip director that actors are dying to work with that he is today. At the time, he only had one film under his belt: Bottle Rocket, which starred the then-unknown Luke and Owen Wilson. The movie scored praise from both critics and, notably, director Martin Scorsese, but made a pittance at the box office. Which is to say, Anderson didn’t then quite have the cache to pull an actor out of retirement. We also don’t know whether or not Culkin was aware that Bill Murray would have been his co-star at the time either.
It turned out that casting the role of Max would prove to be a headache for Anderson, and he almost didn’t the make the film. Though, a casting director eventually held a meeting with some random kid by the name of Jason Schwartzman who he only knew as Sofia Coppola’s cousin a month before filming was to begin. Schwartzman didn’t quite match the original image Anderson had for the character, but he liked the actor enough to take a shot, and the result ended up cementing both their careers.
Culkin, meanwhile, would remain on hiatus for a few more years, doing a play in 2000, and only returning to screens in 2003 for a memorable guest star turn on Will & Grace before appearing in the movies Party Monster and Saved! He’s only done a few films since then, but will return to screens this year in Changeland, directed by his Party Monster co-star Seth Green. So, he’s open to occasional projects. Perhaps Wes Anderson might have better luck if he sent him a script now.