Don Jeanes is many things: animal lover, jujitsu aficionado, handsome Texan, but most notably, he is a working Hollywood actor. Despite his numerous film and television credits, including his role as American legend Neil Armstrong in the blockbuster film Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Don is most recognized for his role as a manly, yet sensitive horse trainer in Budweiser’s immensely popular Super Bowl Commercials. Last year America wept and cheered for Budweiser’s timeless tale of a man’s love for his horse in its Super Sunday spot “Brotherhood”.
The ad was so popular that the execs at Bud decided to keep a good thing going. This year’s installment added an adorable puppy, not to mention a former Sports Illustrated model, to the mix. Like many other companies, Budweiser posted its commercial a few days before the Super Bowl, and by game time it already had over 30 million views. By the time the game ended, “Puppy Love” had topped many lists for best Super Bowl commercial.
Don’s ascension to America’s favorite horseman did not happen overnight. Like most working actors he’s had to grind to get where he is, going on five to ten auditions every week for the last six years. But his hard work is paying off. In addition to his Budweiser spots, Don can be seen in commercials for everything from Travelers Insurance to Bacardi and Cola. In fact he’s quickly becoming one of the busiest commercial actors working today. If Dos Equis decided to make the world’s most interesting man twenty years younger, Don would be their guy, “Don Jeanes doesn’t always make a Super Bowl commercial, but when he does it’s ranked the number one Super Bowl commercial by USA Today’s Ad Meter, two years in a row.”
In addition to these accomplishments, Don also happens to be my friend, which may or may not be listed under the special skills portion of his resume. So I called up my old pal, and asked him for some behind the scenes insight into the world of commercial production.
Q: What was the audition process like for the first commercial?
A: I actually only had to go on two auditions for this part. I went to the first audition in Santa Monica, and the script just spoke to me. For the call back I had to go out to a ranch and actually lead a horse around. I grew up on a ranch in Texas, my dad is a rancher, my grandfather still runs a 1,000 acre ranch in Dayton, Texas, so it came pretty natural to me.
Q: When did you find out about this year’s ad?
A: I found out before Christmas that they were thinking about doing another one. I didn’t have to audition this year. They called me and I read with the girls that were auditioning.
Q: Have you gotten more work as a result of this success?
A: Yeah. Shortly after finishing the Budweiser commercial last year I got a call from RSA (the production company who made the Bud commercials). They said they’d like me to come in and read for a Bacardi commercial. Two weeks later I was on a plane to Uruguay.
Q: Do you get recognized in public now?
A: I notice people looking at me. They’ll look at me. Then look away. Then look at me. It’s like they know they recognize my face, but they don’t know from where.
If you haven’t seen Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial this year, check it out here: Budweiser “Puppy Love”