JULIANNE HOUGH, DIEGO BONETA, RUSSELL BRAND AND THE STARS OF ROCK OF AGES DISH ON THE SUMMER’S HOTTEST MOVIE MUSICAL ROCK OF AGES
Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand bring back big hair and big rock in the summer’s hottest movie musical Rock of Ages. See the hot photos and read what they have to say.
If you don’t know how the story goes (based on the theatre version), the movie follows Sherrie, (Hough), a small town girl and city boy Drew (Boneta) who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams of becoming rock stars.
When Sherrie takes her first steps on the Sunset Strip, she thinks she’s found paradise. Arriving in town with high hopes, Sherrie immediately experiences a rude awakening. The disappointment doesn’t last long, though, as she’s rescued by a handsome young man, Drew Boley, who offers her help and a gives her a job.
Setting the high rock ’n’ roll standard is Stacee Jaxx (Cruise), the rock god that Drew wants to be and that every woman wants to bed. The lead singer of Arsenal, Stacee is at a turning point in his career, and in his life. He’s about to go solo, and his final show with the band is at The Bourbon Room. It’s a homecoming of sorts, as he played his first gig there back in the day. But fame and fortune may have come too easily to the front man who, after years of indulgence, has become boozed up and blasé to the point of bored, and less than reliable when it comes to showing up for his own shows.
Not only will everyone’s vocals surprise you, but the world will also take notice that Tom Cruise can actually sing. “From the moment he signed on, Tom started training his voice with an incredible vocal coach, Ron Anderson,” says director Adam Shankman. “I remember the first time we heard him sing. He’s got this outrageous, four-octave range—turns out he has opera singers in his ancestry, so he’s probably genetically predisposed to sing, but no one’s ever asked him to before. I’m just the lucky recipient of this revelation, I suppose,” he smiles.
Here, stars Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta (in his feature film debut), Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand dish on their characters and preparing for their parts.
“She just wants to make something of herself, even if she’s not going to be the biggest rock star in the world,” Hough says. “She wants to be around it, the excitement and the energy of a city like that. It makes her feel alive. And on her relationship with Boneta’s Drew, Hough says, “They are the couple that you root for,” she continues. “They’re young and learning about life and being in a relationship, and excited for the future. It all seems perfect until they have…a big misunderstanding.”
“Drew is a barback at The Bourbon Room, a legendary club like the Whiskey, where all the bands play,” says Boneta. “He’s a rock star in his heart, and he’s a good, honest, romantic guy. Sherrie and Drew are both in L.A. for the same reasons, they have essentially the same goal in mind, so they click…they really connect. At first, they help each other out at work, but there’s a definite attraction; things between them just grow from there.” Boneta also says that although he was comfortable singing, he had to train his voice to meet the standard of the classic 80s hair band rockers. “We basically went to rock star college,” Boneta says. “I’ve been taking vocal lessons since I was eight, but I had to retrain my voice to a higher range. I also had to develop a raspy quality, but learn to sing in that way without hurting my vocal chords!”
“Constance comes to The Bourbon to interview Stacee Jaxx (Cruise), who is on the road to becoming a washed-up rock star but who was a truly great rocker in his early days,” Akerman says. “She really believed in him, so she’s frustrated that he’s given up. And he’s clearly never met a woman who has stood up to him before, which intrigues him, excites him, and confuses him all at once. But when she tries to pull the truth out of him, things don’t go quite as she’d planned.”
Even though Cruise’s character gives her a hard time Akerman says, Cruise was great to work with. “Tom not only wants the scene to be great, he wants you to shine in it. He’s so respectful and generous. It was an amazing experience working with him.” The rock ‘n’ roll life also came easy to Akerman who is married to a drummer and was briefly in a band called Petalstones. “I’ve never had to sing while acting and handling so much choreography before, but every single lyric has such meaning that it wasn’t hard to find my way through, and I think I did justice to the song.”
“Dennis Dupree’s whole life has been music. Rock ‘n’ roll is his religion and The Bourbon Room is his church, which I guess makes him the pastor.” Although Baldwin says he isn’t a huge fan of rock, he kept an open mind. “The `80s is about when I turned off the radio,” he quips, “but there’s just as much good music from that era as from any other, and it was a lot of fun to revisit it through this character.” And as for his co-star Russell Brand, Baldwin says, “Nothing could have prepared me for what an incredibly clever, funny and alive person Russell is.”
Russell Brand on being Lonny:
“Lonny represents the spirit of rock as the spirit of freedom and change,” Brand says of his character. “He and Dennis are true rock ‘n’ roll veterans, and Lonny’s devoted to the music and to the club.” Sharing his scenes with Baldwin also gave Brand the outlet for his crazy comedy sense. “Alec was very happy to accommodate however I was improvising in the scene, and he really encouraged me. He’s charismatic, authoritative and playful; I liken him to a great British theatrical knight. Plus he’s got endless anecdotes and spellbinding, twinkling eyes,” he teases.
If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, think Tom Cruise belting out Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City” and nailing it, and other performances of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and ballads like Foreigner’s “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” and REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
Rock of Ages opens Friday, June 15 and also stars Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mary J. Blige.