Mike Doyle

Here at TNP, it’s no secret that we love a good Broadway musical every now and again. But a movie musical directed by Clint Eastwood? We’re practically sprinting to the theater. Tomorrow, Jersey Boys hits screens everywhere, and we sat down with one of the stars, Mike Doyle, who plays the Four Seasons’ very handsome band manager (the handsome part he plays onscreen and in real life).

It was late December back in ’63…okay, it was actually summer in 2014 when Doyle stole our hearts at El Quijote in Chelsea. A surfer and avid foodie at heart (Doyle recommended enough restaurants to occupy you for this summer and next), the actor is now a big favorite of ours, and we’re sure he’ll be a favorite of yours post-interview…

What would be your ideal food day?

I’m half Italian so I’m going to pack a lot into this answer. I’d grab an almond croissant from Tarallucci e Vino on tenth street and a latte from MUD on ninth street and wolf it down in front of St. Mark’s Church, leaving enough room to stop at B&H Dairy and eat some Challah French Toast and eggs. If I’m feeling particularly piggy, I’ll get a toasted blueberry muffin slathered in butter to go alongside it.  Lunch time would find me already hungry (I know, right?) and hankering for a panini. I have an electric panini-maker a friend gave me, which is an upgrade from the stove top one my Italian grandparents gave me. Basically I’ll put anything between two pieces of bread, toast it, and call it a day. I love a midday coffee, usually a deli iced coffee with something sweet, like an oatmeal cookie. Dinner would hands down be at the Tower Bar in Los Angeles, with Dmitri [Dmitrov, Maître d] holding court. I’d start with a dozen west coast oysters, onto an iceberg wedge, then the pork chop, with a bottle of full bodied Rioja. I skip the ice cream sundae and get the cookie plate. I know there are a few more hours just to get some sleep to start it all over again the next day.

How do you balance health and eating out?

That’s a tough one. When I go out to eat, I sort of approach it like I’m never going to eat again, which is probably the worst way of going about it. I’m very adventurous and I love to try new dishes. I’ve only recently gotten over the guilt of not finishing everything on my plate.  So when I’m fullish, I sort of stop eating. If I bust it out one night, the next day, I’ll try to take it a bit easier. But as far as steaming things that are meant to be drenched in butter, or making other changes to menu items, I don’t do that. I can do that at home and not be a dick.

What’s your drink?

My mom lives in Napa so I’m partial to California reds. But I would have to say my drink is the Perfect Manhattan, which is different from the regular Manhattan, in that it is half sweet vermouth and half dry vermouth and with a twist not a cherry. You always get some cheeky bartender when you order one, who’s like ‘Oh, okay, I’ll make it perfect.’  I’m sort of obsessed with vintage glassware and have these great etched cocktail glasses that are the perfect vessels for the Perfect Manhattan.

Your go-to on set snacks…

Goldfish, Goldfish, Goldfish. I am like a five-year-old child when it comes to Goldfish. I can’t get enough of them. I will admit this to you now; I always have a bag in my glove compartment in my car. It’s true.

Clint’s go-to on set snacks…

He was always working so hard; I never saw that man sit down or visit the craft service table. But whatever he is snacking on, I want some! Because he’s certainly doing something right when it comes to his eating habits and his health.

Pre and post surf routines… 

My friends and I usually go down to San Onofre Beach with a bunch of friends. We pack coolers full of sandwiches, fruit, juices, and, well, Goldfish. I told you I like them! I’m new to surfing, as in I started about ten years ago, so I still am amazed at how strenuous a workout it is. And I still manage to bang myself up. So post surf usually entails some bandaids and a few ice cold beers.

Pre and post shoot routines…

First, I have to find out if I have to take my shirt off. If it stays on, I just study my lines and go to Mozza.  If it comes off, I study my lines and still go to Mozza, but I don’t order the cheese plate. Post shoot is always a such a bummer that you have to do something fun to stave off the sadness involved with closing another chapter. Which usually means going to Mozza and ordering everything, including the cheese plate.

What is your favorite scene in the upcoming Jersey Boys

That’s a hard one to answer. It was pretty amazing to work with The Man (Clint Eastwood) so they are all sort of my favorites. Shooting the American Bandstand scene was pretty cool I have to say. They recreated it so faithfully and so completely that it felt as if you were stepping back in time and right into the show.

jersey boys broadway

How did you prepare for your role?

Bob Crewe was a force of nature and hugely successful and charismatic so filling those shoes was at first a bit intimidating. I listened to all of his albums that he recorded as a singer to get a sense of his voice. There were also a few radio interviews he did in the sixties and seventies which also gave me a sense of his voice. Then I let the script just sort of take me where I needed to go. Rick [Elice] and Marshall [Brickman] wrote an incredible script which had all the answers. That’s what I did. What Clint did was make me a blond, and then had Deborah Hopper wardrobe me in amazing costumes which spanned nearly thirty-five years. What was pretty incredible was that the world was recreated with such attention to detail and specificity that all I had to do was enter it and be present.

A fun fact we don’t know about each of your cast members…

We had pianos all over the stages in many of the sets they built. On breaks, you’d often hear beautiful piano music being played and you’d ask, ‘Who is that?’ It was Clint!

We have this great finale number with the entire cast where we all sing and dance to ‘Oh What a Night’ and Christopher Walken is a f’ucking amazing dancer. And while we were shooting the number take after take, Renée Marino taught Clint the moves and there’s some B-roll of us dancing with Clint. Boy, can that man move.

Have you ever taken on a diet for a role? 

I’ve only been on a diet once in my life. I did Atkins for a week and stopped when I found myself scooping up fried hot dogs and bacon with a pork rind and thought, um, this can’t be good.

Words to both eat and act by…

Fuck ‘em or fight ‘em!

One item every man should own…

Eyeglass screwdriver

Who’s someone you haven’t worked with, that you’d still like to work with?

Spike Jonze

What New York and LA spots now would we be sure to find The Jersey Boys hanging out?

In New York, definitely at El Quijote, Angel’s Share, The Lamb’s Club, Bar Centrale, and Freemans

In Los Angeles (if you could get them there), Tower Bar, The Dresden, Harvard & Stone, and The Varnish.

What are you personal favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

In Omaha, NE, Johnny’s Steakhouse. In Napa, Bottega, Celadon, and Carpe Diem. In Williamstown, MA, Mezze. In Los Angeles, Tower Bar, Franco on Melrose, AOC, Lucques, Trois Mec, Chi SPACCA, Osteria Mozza, Bludso’s Bar & Que, Sushi Park, and Hirozen. In New York, Veselka, Upstate, Dieci, Momofuku Ko, Per Se (a splurge both for the wallet and the liver), Lucien, Freemans, Trestle on Tenth, and Cookshop.

If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook?

It wouldn’t be five, it would be two people who I lost several years ago. I’d bring back my Grandmother, a great Italian cook, and Grandfather, a butcher, and have them whip up antipasto, manicotti, meatballs, osso bucco, roast beef, chicken cutlets, broccoli rabe, mountains of desserts, and espresso. Perfect.

*Mike Doyle, photographed at El Quijote in New York City by Danielle Kosann. Mike wears a Ermenegildo Zegna suit.