Anthony Boyle Is Moving Forward by Looking Backward

Anthony Boyle was out of luck. He had been expelled from his Catholic boys school for “behavioral problems.” He had also been fired from his job at a nightclub after getting caught drinking while working.

And so Boyle, then 16, figured it was as good a time as any to chase the dream that had begun to take shape in his head. He typed a string of words into Google search: “Belfast male acting auditions.”

He eventually landed some unorthodox roles, including a part in a production of “Romeo and Juliet” that was staged on a massive chessboard and a stint in a ghost tour, in which he wore a black bag over his head and scared people by pretending to be the wrathful spirit of an 18th-century Irish revolutionary.

Though Boyle would later return to school, he didn’t stop acting.

“I never felt like there was another option,” he said in a recent video interview. “I never felt like there was like a backup plan that I could go and study medicine or go and do something else. It was always just acting.”

More than a decade later, Boyle has arrived at another turning point in his performing career. Despite finding success on the stage in London and New York, he had landed only minor roles onscreen before this year.

Now, the man who hated school suddenly seems to be the go-to actor for televised historical dramas. Boyle plays Major Harry Crosby, an airborne navigator battling seasickness and self-doubt, in the Apple TV+ series “Masters of the Air,” about the travails faced by America’s 100th Bomb Group in World War II and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.

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