Mike Doyle’s film break comes this summer in Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys.
Clint Eastwood cast Georgetown alumnus Mike Doyle in Jersey Boys after seeing only one audition tape.
It’s hard to imagine Mike Doyle—with his bewitching smile and model build—pursuing any career other than charming audiences in front of the camera. But the Georgetown grad was once on a decidedly different path: an economics major who interned on the Hill. “The world of politics always intrigued me,” Doyle says. “I loved the fact that Georgetown was in DC, a city I had only read about and hadn’t experienced firsthand.”
As a kid in Connecticut, however, Doyle’s passions lay elsewhere. “I had aspirations to do something that people perked up for,” he shares. He was active in his high school’s drama club and was a catalogue model for department stores like Macy’s. “I was a perfect boys’ size 18,” he laughs. “But because I was a good student, everyone said, ‘You can do acting on the side.’”
By his junior year in college, however, he began performing in plays at Georgetown and in commercials during school breaks. By graduation, his mind was set: The life of an economist was not for him. “I came to New York to try this full time,” he says. “I was accepted to Juilliard, and the rest is history.”
While Doyle may be best known for his turn as forensics tech Ryan O’Halloran on Law & Order: SVU, this summer he’ll be thrust further into the limelight as Bob Crewe in Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the wildly popular Broadway musical Jersey Boys. “Bob was this sort of larger-than-life, flamboyant record producer and collaborator,” Doyle says of his character, a longtime producer and writer for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Clint Eastwood saw the spark of the character in Doyle: The director hired him after seeing just one tape of his audition. “He’s very confident in his choices,” Doyle says of Eastwood. “He’s got this well-oiled machine of a crew that he’s been working with for the last 35 to 40 years. It creates this incredible space of freedom, and everybody operates at a top-notch level because you feel looked out for by him.” And in his early 80s, Eastwood was still full of surprises for the cast. “In between takes you would hear this beautiful piano music,” Doyle remembers. “And someone would say, ‘Oh, it’s Clint playing the piano.’”
Costumes, which document the late 1950s to 1990, were designed by Deborah Hopper, a frequent Eastwood collaborator. Hair and prosthetic makeup meant as much as six hours of preparation before shooting began: “Every day I’d show up and say, ‘What are we doing today?’” Doyle says, wide-eyed. There was, however, one aspect of filming that even Doyle’s training couldn’t help him with: dancing. “I said, ‘I’m going to sell it from the waist up because my feet have no idea what they’re doing right now,’” he laughs. “You can make up a lot with enthusiasm.”
Regardless of the long days, the filming has certainly been transformative for this actor: “Working with Clint was a big dream come true,” Doyle says. “We’ve been wrapped for months, and I’m still floating because it was such an incredible experience.”