COMMITTING TO JONATHAN TUCKER

On Left: Coat by Canali, Sweater by Belstaff, On Right: Coat, Sweater, Pants by Missoni

Jewelry by Eli Halili

Photographer: Karl Simone @karl_simone
Stylist: Michael Fusco @mikeystyles
Groomer: Jeff Chastain @mascbyjeffchastain
Stylist Assistant: Merrit Rea @merritt.rea
Special thanks to Gem Saloon

Interview by Matthew Rettenmund

Jonathan Tucker is one of the best parts of all your favorite shows. The actor, who is currently playing devil to the women of Charlie’s Angels as the new film’s villain, is killer-with-a-conscience Frankie on the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck-produced Boston crime drama City on a Hill; was mercurial Low Key on American Gods; and was a highlight of Season 2 of Westworld as intense, self-unaware host Major Craddock, to name a few.

Perhaps most memorably, and in a role that will leave a mark, the Boston native trained like a fiend to play MMA fighter Jay Kulina on Kingdom opposite Nick Jonas — and still has the abs to prove it.

In an exclusive interview with Iris Cover Book, the 37-year-old actor talked about his myriad roles on TV and in film, what he’s carried with him from his youthful pursuit of ballet (#JayKulinaDancesToo) and how he hopes to be remembered.

On Left: Suit and Shirt by Missoni, Loafers by Gucci
On Right: Jacket and Shirt by Rag and Bone, Jeans by Helmut Lang

I’ve seen you in so many things over the last few years, but only recently connected that you were the teenager in The Deep End (2001), the dark, gay-themed story with Tilda Swinton.

That movie changed my whole life! I turned 18 the day I shot the sex scene with Josh Lucas.

It’s interesting how choices can lead us in totally different directions. I wondered how you decided early on in favor of acting over ballet, which you’d studied?

My second-grade teacher had seen an advertisement for a national call for a [1992] movie called Lorenzo’s Oil. I’d really fallen in love with ballet, particularly with being onstage, so I took him up on this offer and I went to the audition. I didn’t end up getting the movie, but I ended up getting on the radar of the local casting director’s office, and they’d call me back for national commercials they were shooting in Boston, and I ended up getting one for Fruit Roll-Ups. The moment I was there on set with the camera and the crew and understanding the process, I was like, ‘This is what I wanna do.”

 I remember coming back with my parents saying, “We need to get an agent — do you guys know what an agent is? I found a woman who I think is very reputable, I think we should have a meeting with her,’ so I certainly steered that ship early on, and I was very lucky to have supportive parents that helped make it happen for me. I was 10 years old.

Though you changed courses, have you retained anything from your ballet training?

I think self-discipline, the ability to listen and take direction, punctuality. As much as one can work on the interior of a character — we’re all spiritual vessels — physicality is a really important part of being a human being. That’s a critical component to the process of creating a character. Being in your body is something ballet dancers understand.

On Left: Trench by Belstaff, Tee by Mitchell Evan, Jeans by Linder, Sneakers by Geox
On Right: Jumpsuit by Kyle, Overcoat by Linder, Sneakers by Geox

Being committed physically is something you did for Kingdom. You can be committed to playing a doctor but you won’t be ready to go into surgery, yet on Kingdom, your training had you ready to walk into the ring and be an MMA fighter.

I was living that life. Actors are always toggling between “truth” and “truthful.” Everybody wants truth in their lives, but sometimes we have to settle for truthful, as an actor. Certain roles afford you the ability to get closer to truth, but it’s an actor’s responsibility to be the voice for at least truthful, as the bare minimum. No one’s gonna buy you as a fighter, if you don’t look like a fighter.

That must’ve been a tremendous commitment.

I like tremendous commitments and setting goals and achieving them, and discipline. I think my wife had a significantly more challenging time with what was required to keep and maintain Jake than I did; your mood is profoundly affected. When you hear about people who are imprisoned, they get out and the first thing they wanna do, they don’t care about revenge, they want to eat. That was very understandable for me at that point.

You’d been acting since you were so young, did you have a special bond with Nick Jonas when you were shooting Kingdom?

He’s a very important friend to me for a lot of reasons. I would say when you have been through the crucible of this profession and the craft, you then realize you’re always in it. It provides a great deal of wisdom that you can’t buy. People who have stood with you, people you thought would who don’t, people you didn’t think would support you when things were tough but who end up being the most supportive, making money, losing money, fame, no fame, successful movies, bomb TV shows — it’s a business that provides these artificial highs and lows until after a certain point in time, you start to realize what’s really important. Those people who have that understanding can spot each other from across a crowded room. I feel that way about Nick, and he’s had even more complicated experiences than I have. Growing up in the business and getting to see it for as many years as we both have is certainly a connection that we both share — and we value.

 

Trench by Belstaff, Jeans by Linder, Sneakers by Geox

 Were there any older actors you’ve worked with who served as role models?

You learn early on there are many classrooms providing an education, not all of them academic, and the teachers are not always society’s notable ones. It’s not just the famous people, it’s the dolly grip sharing how they made a lot of money when they were young, but now their back and knees are gone but they can’t do anything else because they didn’t take a larger perspective on their life.

I wanna have people say, when I die, that I was able to honor different kinds of people and reflect honestly a variety of worlds, or a host of experiences. So, if I could bring that authentic light and shine it in those places or on those people, it’s exciting to me. I don’t see the world in blacks and whites. The more educated I am on certain topics, the less clear they become. What ends up becoming immutable are certain themes in terms of how I want to live my life, rather than unequivocal truths about kinds of people or certain political topics or certain systems. What I’m looking for is truth, and I find that characters that interest me are significantly more complicated than people think they are — sometimes more than even the writer thinks they are — and I’m interested in that sort of dynamic.

You’ve been in the industry long enough to see the push for diversity. Would you agree that Westworld is an example of a show that is diverse, and organically so?

Westworld was diverse before this was a national conversation, or at least a business conversation, and I think it’s a really important point to share because diversity, just throwing around “diversity” as a cultural token does a disservice, rather than trying to address in a meaningful way a system that hasn’t been able to offer the same sort of opportunities to groups of people that it should.

It also comes from the system that [Westworld creators] Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan have created and cultivated, which is, “How do we mentor different and unique voices and support and guide them?” versus trying to plug holes for the sake of optics. The business has a lot to offer every culture, every faith, every skin color, every economic background, we’re all storytellers.

Being on Westworld thrust you into the realm of a series where storylines are top-secret. Are you good at keeping secrets?

I like secrets. As an actor, you never want to tell anyone anything about your work. Your experiences are bifurcated between work and employment — you’re oftentimes working more than you’re employed. People say, “What’s going on?” What, are you gonna tell them about all the auditions you went on that you probably won’t get? About the movie that’s coming together that probably won’t come together? So, I’m pretty good about being tight-lipped. I might not even talk about it when it comes out — I’ll let you see it. I’ve sat next to people that have been cut out of movies and they had a great role and we’re at the premiere. [Laughs] It’s like — just keep your mouth shut.

Trench by Belstaff, Jeans by Linder, Sneakers by Geox

Can you keep your mouth open about Charlie’s Angels?

There’s something great about making a movie that’s simply a lot of fun, about three very talented young actresses kicking ass. It doesn’t need to say anything more than that. A great movie stands on its own, so if it happens to be about three young women doing things that we typically expect only three young males to do, I think that sends a greater message than having to explain to everybody what the message is.

 Your character in that seems thrillingly without merit as a human being.

I would say certainly without merit, but not without a clear intention. [Laughs] I think I was cast as the manifestation of violence against women.

How was director Elizabeth Banks, who also acts in the film, to work with?

She’s pretty, pretty outstanding. I’ve known her for quite a few years, so when this opportunity came we jumped on the phone and I said, “I’m gonna send you a text of what I think this character looks like, aesthetically speaking,” and she said, “You’ve gotta be kidding, check your texts,” and she had sent me the same model — different picture, but the same very distinctive model, so we were on the same page from the jump.

On Right: Helmut Lang full look, Boots by Saint Laurent

You’ve been in so many things, I don’t think there is a type that screams “Jonathan Tucker character.” Is there a role you’ve played to which you most relate, that’s closest to you?

I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that. It’s kind of like: you’re a pitcher, you have a certain kind of pitch you know you’re really good at, and you have a strike box you know you’re guaranteed to get an umpire to call a strike in, and you’re trying to work the corners a whole bunch. You’re always you, but if it’s not a strike, then at least you attempted it.

Being scared to throw in the corners, being scared of being unsuccessful with the choices you’re making as an actor is the death of a good actor. You have to be willing to throw a few balls or have that errant pitch.

Are you an actor who enjoys photo shoots, like the one you did for Iris Covet Book?

You gotta commit to those things. You’re relying on the team so you can walk in there and just jump. You wanna commit to things in your life. If you’re not willing to do that, don’t show up.

SK Manor Hill

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Photographer: Jason Rodgers @jasonrodgersphoto
Art Direction: Paul Hamann @pablomoses
Styling: Ian McRae @iannxo
Hair and Grooming: Matthew Tuozzoli @tuozzoli
Featuring: Alioune Badara Fall @aliounebf
Amber Chandler @ambermchandler
Dominic Sondag @skminorhill
and Garfield

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

D’USSE RE-MIXER AT THE MCINTOSH TOWNHOUSE NYC

Drawing fascinating parallels between remixing a classic cocktail and remixing a classic song, the interactive series will travel to select destinations across the country, offering bartenders, influencers and journalists an intimate taste of D’USSE, the cognac category, and its role in both cocktail and music culture. You’ve never tasted Cognac like this before.

Three iconic Masters of their Craft lead the NYC launch sessions:
• Cellar master Michel Casavecchia – fresh from the brand’s home at the historic Chateau de Cognac, the legendary creator of D’USSE XO and D’USSE VSOP will reveal his inspirations behind each expression while offering tailored one-on-one tastings.
9TH WONDER – the Grammy Award-winning producer responsible for hits by Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J Blige will unveil the fascinating parallels between remixing classic cocktails and tracks through an interactive DJ Masterclass utilizing The World of McIntosh’s renowned sound system
• Legendary Cocktail Expert DEREK BROWN and his team from D.C.’s award-winning Columbia Room, will provide guests with a sonic wave cocktail demonstration showcasing how using a singing bowl to stir cocktails with sound vibrations allows an interpretation of sound through drinks and impacts its flavor. Each of these artistic elements play off the core concept of how altering one simple ingredient – sound, tone, or even spirit base – can change the way something tastes or is perceived.

MICHEL CASAVECCHIA
Monsieur Michel Casavecchia is the Cellar Master of the prestigious Château de Cognac and the creator of both D’USSÉ VSOP and D’USSÉ XO. He is proud to be part of the privileged line of heirs of the Baron Otard, charged with perpetuating the tradition of the knowledge of blending ‘eau-de-vie’ (water of life) into Cognac.

Michel was born in Lorraine, in the eastern part of France to a father with a passion for collecting and enjoying fine Cognac. This passion, which Michel inherited at a young age, has driven him throughout his career. Though he has not followed the traditional path to becoming an elite Cellar Master, Michel’s relentless dedication to Cognac had led him to the Château de Cognac where he has spent more than a decade overseeing the Cognac making process of some of the world’s finest Cognacs.

After ten years as an apprentice at the Château de Cognac learning from his predecessor and refining his craft, Michel received the opportunity to move into the role he has wanted to achieve most of his life. After nearly 20 years as the curator for some of the most prestigious Cognacs in the world, Michel was tasked with developing a new Cognac for Bacardi, D’USSÉ VSOP.

9th WONDER
Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, is a Grammy award-winning hip hop record producer, record executive, DJ, lecturer, and rapper from Durham, North Carolina, U.S. He began his career as the main producer for the group Little Brother, and has worked with notable musicians including Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Drake, Destiny’s Child, and Kendrick Lamar.

As a college professor, 9th is an adjacent hip-hop history professor at Duke University and has held several Artist-In-Residence positions at top universities across the country including University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, and Harvard University. Through his positions in academic, 9th seeks to educate students on the history of hip-hop as well as advocate for its future.

Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert and president of Drink Company, which owns and operates 2017 Spirited Award winning “Best American Cocktail Bar” Columbia Room as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar that’s housed the wildly-popular Miracle on 7th Street, Cherry Blossom PUB and Game of Thrones PUB. Playboy magazine named him as one of “The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who’ll Save Us in 2017.”
A native Washingtonian with deep ties to the city — his great-grandfather was once D.C.’s police chief — Derek admits that Washington provides a unique vantage point as the capital city, having mixed drinks for everyone from royalty, ambassadors and senators to fellow Washingtonians, interns and students. He’s concocted cocktails at the White House, clinked glasses with Martha Stewart and was even appointed Chief Spirits Advisor at the National Archives. Derek’s philosophy for crafting memorable drinks goes beyond what’s shaken, stirred and served in a glass. “When I think about cocktails, I think about how they connect to nature, I think about how they connect to history,” he explained to Imbibe magazine, which named him 2015’s Bartender of the Year. “I think about how they connect to the people who made them and the time they were living in.”
Derek’s passion for spirits has taken him across the globe, where he’s learned about the integral role food and drink play in the culture, customs and values of communities worldwide. He’s also written about drinks and drinking for The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Bon Appetit magazine, among other publications.

ABOUT D’USSE: D’USSE [dew-say] launched in 2012, D’USSÉ is an ultra-premium cognac that blends over 200 years of tradition with the modern inspiration of Cellar /Master Michel Casavecchia. D’USSÉ is a uniquely powerful, authentic cognac that starts off with distinguished intensity, giving way to a pleasantly smooth, balanced finish. With exceptionally blended expressions including D’USSÉ VSOP and D’USSÉ XO (launched in 2014), D’USSE lends itself to a variety of elegantly crafted rich, and complex cognac-based cocktails.

 

 

Guests enjoyed Derek Brown and Columbia Room’s sonic wave cocktail demonstration using a singing bowl.

Georgia Fowler enjoying the classic Sidecar at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Ron Hill crafting his own re-mixed cocktail with D’USSE VSOP

Jamal Jackson at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at McIntosh Townhouse

TK Wonder with DJ Millie, in between her sets of the evening at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Martin Salomon enjoying the Side Chick cocktail – a riff off the Side Car – at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Quiana Parks and her friend at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Elijah Dominique and friends at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at the McIntosh Townhouse

DJ Millie entertained guests with sets throughout the evening at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder led guests through a DJ Masterclass using the World of McIntosh’s renowned sound system

Amrit at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at the McIntosh Townhouse

Vashtie enjoying the Side Car at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

LAST NIGHT I DREAMT THAT SOMEBODY LOVED ME

Photography by Hadar Pitchon | Styling by Marc Anthony George

Coat by Adrienne Landau, Suit by Vivienne Westwood, Vintage shirt from Screaming Mimi’s Vintage, Necklace, stylist’s studio, Rings by Joy of Crystals

Coat and shirt by Dries Van Noten, Shawl by Screaming Mimi’s Vintage, Necklace by Joy of Crystals

Jacket by Just Cavalli, Rings by Joy of Crystals

Vintage robe and scarf from Screaming Mimi’s Vintage, Fur Shawl by Adrienne Landau

 

Coat by John Varvatos, Shirt and undershirt by Burberry, Vintage scarf from Screaming Mimi’s Vintage

 

Sweater by JW Anderson

Vintage shirt from Screaming Mimi’s Vintage, Pants by Jil Sander, Scarf by John Varvatos, Vintage scarf clip, stylist’s own, Rings by Joy of Crystals, (right pinky) Ring by Alexis Bitar

Suit, shirt and boots by Roberto Cavalli, Vintage neckpiece from Screaming Mimi’s, Vintage Pocket square by Ralph Lauren

Coat and pants by Valentino, Vintage shirt hat and necklace from Screaming Mimi’s Vintage, Rings by Joy of Crystals (right pinky) Ring by Alexis Bittar

Coat, sweater and pants by Versace, Necklace by Screaming Mimi’s Vintage, Boots by John Varvatos

Grooming by Mike Fernandez using Evo Hair Products and Glossier on skin, Editor Marc Sifuentes, Production by XTheStudio, Special Thanks to Cole Harrell and Tai Heng Cheng for opening their home in Tuxedo, New York for our location.