Jonathan Tucker Q&A: ‘Kingdom’
During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Kingdom” star Jonathan Tucker reveals one of the great joys of acting on this acclaimed family drama is “hitting these extraordinary highs and hitting these extraordinary lows.” The Audience Network serie, which recently returned with the second half of season two, centers on Alvey Kulina (Frank Grillo), a mixed martial arts trainer who juggles running his gym with keeping his family together. Tucker plays Alvey’s son, Jay, the family screw-up, who begins fighting again when his father’s girlfriend, Lisa (Kiele Sanchez), becomes his manager.
Tucker, who had guest spots on “Parenthood” and “Justified” and can next be seen in the series “American Gods,” describes Jay as “deeply sensitive,” someone who has seen his promising career hampered by drug and alcohol addiction. “He is extraordinarily talented,” the actor explains, “but has a very difficult time finding that equilibrium between fighting and addiction, and self-realization, or self-confidence. That triangle tend to fall apart or be rejiggered throughout the seasons that we’ve had on our show.”
While “Kingdom” features many brutal fight scenes, much of it centers on the family dynamic, which also includes Nick Jonas as Jay’s younger brother and Joanna Going as their estranged, drug-addicted mother. “The fighting in ‘Kingdom’ is really just a crucible,” Tucker explains. “It’s a conduit to the drama. What’s so wonderful is that it makes all of these relationships heightened.” He adds, “All of drama is about relationships, and the best, most complicated relationships are our families. At the end of the day, ‘Kingdom’ is a show about family.”
And he says “there’s a lot of Biblical themes, and this idea of a self-flagellation, of a ritual cleansing, of stepping into those baptismal waters, of finding life again after a great deal of physical exertion.” He describes in detail “that redemptive quality we find when we put ourselves in the loneliest of situations, where we’ve prepared in a ritualistic way to offer ourselves up in some respects. It’s all part-and-parcel of who this character is. If he can’t find that redemptive quality in fighting, then of course, he finds it in drugs and alcohol.”