Macaulay Culkin Passed on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and He’s Not Mad About It

Macaulay Culkin was the most sought-after child actor of his time. Culkin’s child movie career is legendary. As an adult, he has carefully picked and chosen which projects he invests his time in. While fans haven’t seen him in a starring sitcom role, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been asked. In 2018, Culkin revealed that he was approached multiple times to star in The Big Bang Theory but turned it down. While appearing in the series would have made him millions of dollars, he isn’t mad about his decision to pass on the opportunity.

Macaulay Culkin was offered a role on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Macaulay Culkin could have appeared in a starring role on The Big Bang Theory. The child star was offered a part but turned it down multiple times. During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience in 2018, Culkin said he was approached about appearing on The Big Bang Theory but hated the generic pitch so much that he turned down the initial offer.


The casting department wasn’t going to give up so easily, though. Culkin revealed that he was offered the role several times, turning it down each time. He said his agent was trying to push him to take the part at one point. Culkin held strong, and the casting director eventually moved on. While he lost out on being a part of the most popular sitcom in recent years, he’s not upset about it.

The ‘Home Alone’ star isn’t upset he passed on the sitcom

Despite the popularity of The Big Bang Theory, Culkin doesn’t feel as though he missed out on anything. While he acknowledges he’d have made millions of dollars by appearing on the show, it wouldn’t have been fulfilling. He told Rogan that he might have become exponentially richer, but we would have been beating his head against the wall. In short, working on the long-running sitcom wouldn’t have fit with Culkin’s vibe or how he envisions his career.

The cast of
The cast of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Smallz & Raskind/Getty Images for The People’s Choice Awards

Exactly how many millions of dollars did he walk away from, though? Well, over $100 million in the long term. Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar signed on for under $100,000 per episode for the first season. As the show’s popularity grew, so did their paychecks. By the time the series ended, they were making nearly $1 million per episode. According to Cinema Blend, at least a few cast members own a percentage of the show’s residual earnings. Those earnings reportedly topped $1 billion in 2022.

Who would Macaulay Culkin have played?

Culkin discussed being offered a role on The Big Bang Theory, but he never elaborated on which character he was offered in the series. While it’s impossible to say who Culkin would have been had he accepted the role, it seems likely that he would have taken the role of either Leonard Hofstadter or Howard Wolowitz.

Several sources insist Culkin was offered the part of Leonard, and that does, in fact, make the most sense. Eventually, the role went to Johnny Galecki, who added just the right amount of sarcasm and exasperation to Leonard’s nice guy persona. Interestingly enough, Simon Helberg, the actor who played Howard Wolowitz, turned down the initial role that made him famous.

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