Jonathan Tucker Gets Dirty

4.2.2008

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Tucker grew up in a heavily Irish Catholic section of Boston he refers to as 'the Peoples' Republic of Charlestown.' His father is an art history professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and one of the country's foremost authorities on Claude Monet. When his mother, a PR and marketing analyst, phones during our interview, he politely excuses himself to take her call, rather than relegating her to voice mail.

'She was making sure I was watching Caroline Kennedy and Ted Kennedy endorse Barack Obama,' he says. The actor, who has done spots for Amnesty International, resists the opportunity for political grandstanding, simply adding, 'I'm a political junkie. I'll feel much better about the country if we see a runoff between Obama and McCain.'

A performer from an early age, Tucker danced for five years with the Boston Ballet -- 'I appeared in every single production staged during those years' -- until he landed his first national commercial and hung up his ballet shoes. 'Ballet was a huge part of my life at a certain point, from the time I was 7 or 8 until I was 12 or 13,' he remembers. 'Characters are physical as much as anything, and often you can tell a lot about who somebody is by the way they walk down the street. Ballet made me aware of that very early on."

Tucker is now lending his athleticism to this month's The Ruins, based on the 2006 best-selling horror thriller by Scott Smith. [Read more about queer director Carter Smith here.] He plays a premed student who persuades a group of Americans vacationing in Mexico to come along with him on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle.

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