Macaulay Culkin Reveals Why He Turned Down The Big Bang Theory

macaulay culkin

The Big Bang Theory is one of the biggest and most-watched shows on network television nowadays, and it turned Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco into household names. With the twelfth season set to hit the airwaves next month, it's difficult to imagine the key roles played by anybody else. Now, however, Home Alone actor Macaulay Culkin has revealed that he was offered a role on The Big Bang Theory on multiple occasions, but he turned the show down. Here's how he put it:

They pursued me for The Big Bang Theory. And I said no. It was kind of like, the way the pitch was, 'Alright, these two astrophysicist nerds and a pretty girl lives with them. Yoinks!' That was the pitch. They were like, 'We'll get some real physicists to do the math,' but I was like, 'Yeah, I'm cool, thanks.' And then they came back at me again, and I said, 'No, no, no. Again, flattered, but no.' Then they came back at me again, and even my manager was like twisting my arm.

Macaulay Culkin didn't reveal what exact role The Big Bang Theory wanted him for, but it sounds like he was being considered for either Sheldon or Leonard. It also sounds like he didn't get a lot in the way of details pitched to him. The premise of two nerds and the pretty girl does describe how The Big Bang Theory kicked off with Penny moving into Sheldon and Leonard's apartment. This was clearly not a premise that appealed to Culkin, and it wasn't the math that threw him off. Hey, "bazinga" and laugh tracks aren't for everybody!

Now, nobody could have predicted when The Big Bang Theory premiered back in 2007 that it would become a mega-hit, spawn a spinoff, and earn the cast some major paydays. Macaulay Culkin may have just felt like he was passing on a sitcom like any other sitcom. I do wonder if his manager had an idea that The Big Bang Theory could go on to do great things, given that the manager wound up trying to talk Culkin into joining the series.

Given how lucrative The Big Bang Theory has been for the entire cast, it would be easy to understand if Macaulay Culkin was a little bit bitter that he passed on a project that could have made him a lot of money. Fortunately, he's not kicking himself for not jumping on the sitcom when the opportunity came before him. Culkin also shared this in his interview on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast:

I'd have hundreds of millions of dollars right now if I did that gig. But at the same time, I'd be bashing my head against the wall.

Hundreds of millions of dollars must be all well and good, but wanting to bash your head against a wall on a daily basis for how you earn it would probably put just a little bit of a damper on the fun. All things considered, Macaulay Culkin seems perfectly at peace with his decision not to accept a role on The Big Bang Theory, and fans got to see Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki tackle the male lead roles.

The Big Bang Theory will return (without Macaulay Culkin) for Season 12 on Monday, September 24 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Our fall TV schedule can fill you in on more viewing options. Don't forget to check out our picks for 12 of the Big Bang Theory's greatest guest stars.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.