Thomas Dekker

Thomas Dekker is your not-so-typical, precocious and complex 23-year-old star-on-the-rise. He has spent almost two decades building a fascinatingly varied body of work and has already graduated to write and direct his first feature film, called The Walk of Fame. (It’s set to begin shooting this month with fellow young upstarts Nico Tortorella and Shiloh Fernandez and will be produced by Christine Vachon’s Killer Films.) Born in Las Vegas, Dekker began his career when he was 5 with a Huggies Pull-Ups commercial, realized his love of acting on the set of John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned (1995) with Christopher Reeve and Kirstie Alley when he was 6, and played Satan on Touched by an Angel when he was 12. “I got to throw Roma Downey down the stairs,” he says. “And then I turned into a lion.” As the star of last year’s Kaboom—the first-ever film awarded the Queer Palm award at Cannes for its contribution to LGBT presence in cinema—he entered director Gregg Araki’s pantheon of oversexed, hyper-pop leading men. His latest role, though, is as Lance Loud, the oldest son in HBO’s Cinema Verite, which premiers this month, a film about the making of the wrenching 1973 PBS series An American Family, popularly considered the first reality television show. “Other than Donny Osmond, when I was 12, I’ve never played a real person,” Dekker says with entertaining self-awareness, referring to “Young Donny,” whom he portrayed in the 2001 TV movie Inside the Osmonds. The brilliantly charismatic Loud, who died in 2001, was openly gay, a habitué of Max’s Kansas City, and the lead singer of power-pop band The Mumps (he was also a columnist for Interview). Co-starring Diane Lane, Tim Robbins, and James Gandolfini, and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini of American Splendor (2003) fame, Cinema Verite puts Dekker at the heart of a mesmerizing re-creation of a golden moment in New York City underground history that includes scenes in Loud’s former Chelsea Hotel apartment and the La MaMa theater. “My biggest concern was that I go as far out as he did,” Dekker says, “without it becoming a caricature.”

Photo: Styling: Moses Moreno. Tank: Marc Jacobs. Necklace: Pyrrha. Grooming: Cheri Keating/The Wall Group. Makeup: Dawn Broussard Using Nars Cosmetics/Frank Reps. Special Thanks: Smashbox Studios.