Rory Culkin on being inspired by Kubrick and working with Jonas Åkerlund

From child star to film star, Rory Culkin has taken on his most intense role yet...

From 2001’s You Can Count On Me to 2015’s Gabriel, Rory Culkin has been recognised for his cinematic presence from a young age, working with diversely talented actors and filmmakers. Now, the chameleonic actor is taking on a new role working with Jonas Åkerlund in Lords of Chaos. Stepping into the Norwegian underground music scene, the Sundance-premiered biopic focuses on a book of the same name telling the true story of True Norwegian Black Metal and its most notorious practitioners. We caught up with the mesmerising actor to find out about the daring new project and what’s next for Rory Culkin…

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with acting?

I’ve always liked acting but I feel I truly fell in love with it when I was on a film called Electrick Children. There’s a scene where a propose to a girl (Julia Garner) on a dirty motel floor. The scene is both pathetic and beautiful. It is my love letter to acting.

How does it feel to be in such a prolific creative family? Did you notice a transition from child star to new actor?

I don’t think I ever was a child star. I was a child actor who was very particular about the roles he chose. I only accepted a role if I thought the script was “cool”. I’d like to think I’ve matured.

What drew you to the project Lord of Chaos?

The Norwegian Black Metal culture, a true story, Jonas Åkerlund, corpse paint.

Where did you draw influence from when creating the character of Euronymous?

I used photographs and interviews of Euronymous to build a foundation for the character. Then I just allowed myself to be a narcissist.

The film is a reality-inspired horror drama, did the intensity of the role take its toll on you emotionally?

I became very sad once we wrapped the film. I really liked being Euronymous. I didn’t want to let him go and truthfully, I haven’t fully. He’s still here with me.

You’ve taken on a diverse selection of characters, what do you look for in a role?

Truth. Something even slightly relatable that I can grab onto. Then starts the building process.

How did you find relating to the film and its characters?

We can all relate to rebellion and having fun. That’s what I think Black Metal was initially. Then it snowballed into something grotesque.

Who is your cinematic icon?

Stanley Kubrick.

What films have shaped you the most over your life and career so far?

Watching Dog Day Afternoon had an impact on me when I was younger. But as far as films that I was apart of, I did a film called Gabriel a few years ago. I played a young man struggling with various mental illnesses. Researching that project really stretched my mind.

What’s next for you?

City on a Hill premieres on Showtime in June. It stars Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge. It’s going to be truly great.

20 March 2019