Jake Picking Felt Rock Hudson's Presence on the Set of "Hollywood"

DeAnna Janes

From Oprah Magazine

  • Jake Picking plays Rock Hudson in Hollywood, a new Netflix miniseries from Ryan Murphy.

  • The 28-year-old has appeared in movies like Patriot's Day, Horse Girl, and Blockers, and will be in 2020's Top Gun reboot.

  • In an interview with OprahMag.com, Picking opened up about feeling Hudson's presence on set.

Rock Hudson, a Hollywood legend, is returning to the screen in 2020—but with a twist. Hudson is featured as a character in the new Netflix series Hollywood, played Jake Picking.

Hollywood opens at the start of Hudson's career, fresh off the bus from Illinois. Like his character, Picking is also a star on the rise. The 28-year-old has appeared in a few flicks, like Blockers, Patriot's Day, and most recently, Horse Girl. However, as one viewing of Hollywood makes obvious, Picking has a bright future, and a long IMBD page, ahead.

Constrained by fame and societal restrictions, Hudson was unable to live freely as a gay man. Hudson's agent, Henry Willson, even arranged a three-year marriage to secretary Phyllis Gates to keep rumors about Hudson's sexuality at bay. In 1985, at the age of 59, Hudson died of complications from HIV/AIDS.

Picking tells OprahMag.com that playing the real-life figure in the Ryan Murphy series was a "daunting" endeavor. "He's a hero in my mind," Picking says. "He had to deal with the tragedy of not feeling like you can be yourself, and feeling ostracized."

Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection - Getty Images
Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection - Getty Images

An exercise in revisionist history, Hollywood imagines another path the Giant actor's life could have taken. Essentially, the miniseries asks: What if Hudson hadn't had to hide his identity?

Here's everything we know about Jake Picking, the man bringing this portrayal to life.

Chances are, you've already seen Jake Picking in a movie.

Picking's first film role came in the 2013 coming-of-age drama The Way Way Back. Since then, the Massachusetts-born actor appeared in a number of popular movies, like Blockers, Patriot's Day, and the action film Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

Photo credit: Lionsgate
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Compared to his vulnerable performance in Hollywood, Picking is practically unrecognizable compared in Goat, an acclaimed 2016 drama about frat house hazing. Picking played pledge master Dixon, who torments Nick Jonas's character.

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Another highlight from Picking's seven-year-long acting career? Picking flaunting his six-pack in the raunchy comedy Dirty Grandpa.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jake Picking (@jakepicking) on Jan 1, 2016 at 4:28pm PST

His rap skills are on display in the movie Horse Girl.

Like his Boston compatriot Mark Wahlberg, Picking can also drop a beat. In an interview with WWD, Picking revealed he's been rapping since high school. Most of his 50 tracks will remain hidden on his computer hard drive—but not all.

A few of Picking's original raps, like the song "Hollywood Kills," are included in the 2019 indie movie Horse Girl. Currently on Netflix, Horse Girl is a thriller starring Alison Brie. Picking plays an Enterprise Rent-a-Car employee with a penchant for wordplay.

If you're curious (and how couldn't you be?), scroll to the last video in Picking's Instagram series to hear him rap.

View this post on Instagram

@horsegirlnetflix swipe for raps 🎶🦄

A post shared by Jake Picking (@jakepicking) on Feb 18, 2020 at 8:43am PST

We can't tell if he's in a relationship.

Judging by his Instagram and red carpet appearances, Picking does not appear to be in a public relationship. However, back in 2018, Picking brought influencer Fiona Barron as his date to the film premiere of Blockers—and gave her a very public kiss.

Photo credit: Steve Granitz - Getty Images
Photo credit: Steve Granitz - Getty Images

He unwinds by watching classic Hollywood movies.

After moving to Los Angeles, Picking went through a period of loneliness. According to an interview with WWD, Picking coped by escaping into old films.

“I remember going through a nocturnal time where it’d be all through the night watching black-and-white movies. Forties, Fifties, Paul Newman, those are the guys I really looked up to," Picking said.

Picking was especially excited to play Hudson in Hollywood, a love letter to that era of filmmaking era. "That’s why I like playing Rock Hudson. I was cognizant of him already,” he continued.

Picking felt Rock Hudson's presence on set.

But not in a spooky afterlife kind of way. While speaking to OprahMag.com, Picking opened up about the "gravity" of playing a real-life figure.

"You almost feel judging, or—maybe [Hudson] is watching. I had to remind myself what Ryan Murphy said: ‘We’re paying homage to his legacy, capturing his essence throughout this,’" Picking says.

He played ice hockey at NYU.

In his pre-acting days, he was a forward for New York University's ice hockey team. Here’s proof.

Foreshadowing his career as an actor, Picking also appeared in a hockey-themed commercial that aired during NHL games.

A Top Gun reboot is on the horizon.

Need another reason to look forward to Top Gun: Maverick, the reboot of Tom Cruise's iconic 1986 action flick? Here you go: Picking will appear in the movie, alongside Cruise, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, and Miles Teller.

Originally set to come out in April 2020, Top Gun: Maverick's release has been pushed back to December.

And now, you can bask in his Instagram.

Picking posts under @jakepicking, and, uh, it's worth a follow.

View this post on Instagram

been planning my coachella outfit for weeks

A post shared by Jake Picking (@jakepicking) on Apr 22, 2018 at 6:15pm PDT

Trust us—it'll brighten up your news feed.

For more stories like this, sign up for our newsletter.