Jake Picking: Boston’s New “It” Boy

Move over, Marky Mark! From V123’s V People, we introduce the rising actor, Jake Picking.

They say they don’t make them like they used to, but the leading-man virtuosity of Boston native Jake Picking suggests otherwise. With the comic sensibilities of Jim Carrey (his idol), the boyish showmanship of Mark Wahlberg (Picking shares his fellow Bostonian and Patriots Day costar’s fondness for rapping), and a jawline that Al Hirschfeld might have chiseled, the actor seems grafted together from bygone eras, or ones due for a reboot.

Those timeless airs made Picking a natural choice for the star-loving Ryan Murphy, who tapped the 28-year-old to play Rock Hudson. Hollywood, Murphy’s ambitious pop-historical saga reanimating mid-century Tinseltown, sees Picking alongside Jim Parsons as Hudson’s high-powered agent Henry Willson, as well as Golden Age peers played by Darren Criss, Samara Weaving, and Maude Apatow. Although in Hudson’s case, the 1940s might better be described as a gilded cage: Despite embodying a platonic male-actor ideal, Hudson’s seemingly sudden death by AIDS in 1985 would cast a shadow of forced secrecy on his macho legacy. “I think what we’re making is really a non-sanitized version [of history], and that’s great,” says Picking.“It’s a celebration and an unveiling.”

Though his works-in-progress foretell a fast-track to recognition (he’s also in 2020’s Top Gun: Maverick), Picking, who vowed to, if necessary, “eat out of tuna cans” upon moving to L.A., puts process ahead of ego: “The audience should feel like a fly on the wall— that’s the goal,” he says of inhabiting Hudson.“[Which makes] it hard not to take work home, especially when you’re playing someone legendary…I feel like that can be unhealthy.” While the tradition of the self-sacrificing star finds a complicated precedent in Hudson, Picking hopes his portrayal will make good on those sacrifices: “Honestly, I think that sometimes [Hudson] viewed himself as a villain, because of the secrets that he had to keep,” says the actor.“[His story] is a tragedy…But I think he was a hero.”

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Jakes wears jacket, pants, and shirt Gucci hat stylist’s own
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