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Kieran Caulkin has emerged from the shadow of his brother Macauley with Succession, and the even bigger one of their father. Photo: Getty Images.
Kieran Caulkin has emerged from the shadow of his brother Macauley with Succession, and the even bigger one of their father. Photo: Getty Images.

Kieran Culkin, the star who learned from his brother

The actor, a certified star thanks to Succession, has taken years to recognize himself as an actor. 

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Kieran Culkin remembers perfectly how his brother Macauley was bullied on the street when he was a child. That’s why he never wanted his fame.

But the success of Succession, a series where he plays a main character, has launched his career.

When the script came to him in 2016, he liked it so much he decided to play Roman Roy, the character who has changed his life. Succession has become a cult series since its premiere in 2018. Series creator Jessy Armstrong decided to hire him when Culkin sent him three scenes from the script through his agent. The character, for those who have not seen the series, is the youngest son of the family, immature and provocative.

The series won seven Emmy Awards last year, including "Best Drama Series," and Roman got Kieran Culkin to finally admit he wants to be an actor. He confessed it in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He said that when he finished shooting the first season of the series, he knew that this was what he wanted to do with his life.

The trauma after Home Alone

But Caulkin also acknowledged in the same interview that his relationship with fame is difficult after seeing how it affected his brother Macaulay as a result of the movie Home Alone.

From a young age, he saw how people harassed him on the street and that affected his ability to even recognize himself as an actor. The mental health of the two brothers was affected for years by his father, who did not achieve success as an actor and tried through his children through tyranny.

For Kieran, although he shied away from fame, it was not easy because he was often mistaken for his brother. His New York-born father had a brief career as a child actor and ended up taking a job as a church clerk. Despite this, he maintained his relationships with some people from the theater and every time there was a role for a child he tried to place one of his children.

Seven brothers in the crosshairs

Kieran and Macaulay have five other siblings, all of whom grew up in a very small Manhattan apartment. Not all of them went to school and the four oldest did not even finish high school.

Still, their mother insisted that they have the closest thing to a normal life, but all of them went through show business to a greater or lesser extent. Some even against their will, like Dakota Culkin, who died in a traffic accident in 2008.

The one who became a real star was Macaulay in 1990 with Home Alone, in which Kieran also appears as one of the children of the family. Macaulay became the first child star to earn a million dollars for a role, which was not for Home Alone, but My Girl, a film he recorded a year later, in 1991.

Thanks to that, the family was able to move into a house where each brother their own room. But the deal-breaker was the despotic attitude of Culkin’s father, who saw in his son Macaulay the success he failed to achieve. He started asking for more money for every movie his son made and wanted to get more and more involved in creative decisions.

That was the beginning of the end, but 30 years later, both brothers have managed to free themselves from that trauma and enjoy their lives. 

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