Outfitted: Jonathan Tucker

The Kingdom star talks Crown Victorias, kicking ass, and good luck charms. 

Jonathan Tucker is incapacitated.

That’s what he tells me as he sits in his hair and makeup trailer as prosthetic cauliflower ears are carefully applied to his head. It confirms suspicions as to how far some actors will go to make sure their roles are as authentic as possible. For Tucker’s role on DirecTV’s MMA masterpiece, Kingdom, he pulls out all the punches — literally.

“This business is rough and tumble. You just take as many figurative, and I guess now literal hits to the face, to stay in this business,” Jonathan told Maxim. “You have to be a little fanatical about the craft.”

But before he got into the ring as ‘high-wire act’ and dynamic character Jay, the Boston native danced. Seven-year old Tucker found himself enrolled in the Boston Ballet for a few years before shifting to television commercials. “I had such a good time with the process and the people, and I thought it would be a great transition. At the grand age of 12 or 13, or even earlier actually, I started to drag my parents into the business.”

And the business has been good to him. Over time, Jonathan’s resume has grown with incredible roles, from films like The Virgin Suicides and The Ruins to television shows like ParenthoodJustified, and now, Kingdom, a series he said has provided him with one of the most authentic experiences he’s ever had.

“That’s the foundation of the home that we’re building,” he told Maxim. “Our first priority is to tell a story that honors all the fighters, and their families, and supporters, and all the different people that are in this world, that are in this business, and art, craft. So from the training, to the diet, to the real fighters we have on the show, the real coaches, the real athletic commissioners, the cut men, the doctors, the referees, the venues, all the material of the shirts and all that sort of stuff. It’s all about truth.”

Jonathan got real with Maxim and told us about driving classic American muscle, staying grounded, and his go-to good luck charm.

I drive a Crown Victoria P71 and I really enjoy getting into that in the morning, hearing the roar of that American-made engine, sucking down gasoline at perhaps an inappropriate level. There are some times in life where you gotta say, “Y’know, I recycle.’I do a lot for the environment, I think I can allow myself to put the accelerator down a little too forcefully in the morning.”

I carry a lucky keychain. It’s a little arrow that’s made by a company called Parabellum. And they have American man-made, Buffalo hand-made – it’s just absolutely the most beautiful little item I own. I love putting that in my pocket..You can wear absolutely anything you want, as long as you have that little arrow dangling out from your pants, you’re looking like a million bucks. That and a pair of Wolverine 1000 shoes. Every man should own a pair of Wolverine 1000 shoes.

If I ever have any downtime, you can probably find me reading quietly in my beautiful 1920’s high-ceiling living room with my dog by my side, and the sunlight pouring in. I’m in the middle of a few books now, but I just finished “Good to Great.” It sounds like a business book but I thought it had some good applicable lessons in life.

I’ve always wanted to go on a safari to Africa. There are some things that are prohibited because of fear, and some that are prohibited because of time. I’ve had periods when I’ve been more financially stable than others. By that I mean to say, this business, if it’s ever reflected in a quantifiable way by your bank account, has very big ups and very big downs. And I’m lucky enough to be able to finally take that trip that I’ve wanted to take for a long time. 

As for what’s next, I hope I get to continue to tell some really good stories with some really wonderful characters. I like the leading role characters that are actually real human beings, that are fully fleshed out, and finding those sort of characters is tough. I hope I get to continue working with Byron Balasco as I move forward with my career. He’s the creator of Kingdom, someone I feel a real kinship towards. Or with. Don’t mind my grammar.

Need some style inspiration? Check out all our other ‘Outfitted’ columns here