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How Natasha Lyonne Got All Five Culkin Brothers to Appear in New Show

How Natasha Lyonne Got All Five Culkin Brothers to Appear in New Show

Prime Video adult animated series The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy features not just one Culkin — with Kieran Culkin voicing one of the main characters — but all five brothers working together for the first time, and it turns out Natasha Lyonne helped make it all happen.

Lyonne, who executive produced and costars in the show, has been longtime friends with both Kieran and Macaulay Culkin, “so Kieran came up for the role of Dr. Plowp and in a crazy turn of events, the bird alien [character that he plays] had four brothers [in the script] before he was cast. So he had the four brothers already and when we cast Kieran we were like, ‘You have four brothers! That’s ridiculous, what fate,’” showrunner Cirocco Dunlap told The Hollywood Reporter at the Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday. “Kieran was the one who suggested it, he was like, ‘We could get my brothers’ and I was like, ‘What? Yes, yes we should.’ And they’re so wonderful, they’re so funny, they’re very empathic and very sweet.”

Maya Rudolph, who also executive produced and voiced a character, joked, “The magic of Natasha, she made a call — I think she picked up the Culkin Batphone and they all answered.”

“I’m the Culkin whisperer it turns out,” teased Lyonne. “I worked with Mac on Party Monster, I want to say it was five years ago but it was probably 25. And so we became pals, we were instant friends and he’d do running charades and the family would all be there. Kieran and I became pals along the way, I think maybe I did a movie with Rory. I love them, I really love those Culkins.”

The show, which follows two brilliant female alien doctors who specialize in rare sci-fi illnesses, also features Stephanie Hsu and Keke Palmer in the lead roles; Dunlap revealed that the way they cast the actresses was taking “interviews that they had done that were just on YouTube from talk shows and we would just play their voices next to each other, because they’re offer-only because they’re such incredible talent. And we were like ‘Oh, they sound good together!’”

Because the project was made during COVID, the stars didn’t physically record in the same space, but were able to play off of each other’s playback audio.

“It’s just one of those things where we’re so obviously fun together, I don’t know how else to describe it,” Hsu said of herself and Palmer. “I want to see the live-action because just what a dynamic duo, but it was really amazing to get to hear her playback and getting to work off of that because I could feel the spirit of her. It was like finding little relics of each other and like a slower game of tennis.”

The series also marks another collaboration for Rudolph and Lyonne under their Animal Pictures producing banner; however, it was announced last fall that the two would amicably part ways as producing partners after previously teaming up for Poker Face, Loot and Russian Doll.

“We’re going to do our own projects. We have so much to do, so it’s going to be a good thing,” Rudolph told THR of the decision to go their separate ways. “I’m doing my show Loot right now and we have a lot of projects that we’re personally developing. We’re doing things the way that we both do them and it’s nice to be friends with somebody for almost 25 years and just let them do whatever they need to do.”

Lyonne added, “I’m very proud of these things that we’re going to have on air forever hopefully” and she has “many, myriad ideas, and I’m very excited to be making all of them.”

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy starts streaming on Prime Video on Friday.

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