Rock of Ages - Russell Brand, Director Adam Shankman, Julianne Hough, and Alec Baldwin on set during the production © 2012 Warner Bros
Rock of Ages continued from page 1
Director Adam Shankman, Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta on set during the production © 2012 Warner Bros

What was the most difficult thing about bringing the stage show to the screen?

What’s often the most difficult and compelling thing about a musical like Rock of Ages is that half of a song is played as performance and the other half as dialogue or inner monologue. I think the writers did a great job of turning a terrific stage show into a real cinematic experience.

How did Tom Cruise become involved with this? How did you know he could even sing?

Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) and Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti) © 2012 Warner Bros

What he said to me was, ‘I want to do a musical.’ In my head I was going, ‘What, Damn Yankees? I don’t even know what that means. It’s so weird.’ Hairspray brought me a lot of credit in town in the acting community, thank God, because they felt like I totally understood that. I wasn’t making fun of anything.

So when this opportunity came up, I thought, ‘Oh my God, one of the biggest movie stars in the world playing one of the greatest rock stars in the world. If he can sing, this will work.’ Also he was a man who knew what it was like to be that famous in the ’80s. Tom Cruise was a very big star in the ’80s.

Then we found out he could do it. He legitimately had a big voice and every note is him. That is all him, it’s not manipulated.  At his age to find a whole new skill is crazy.

Tom’s a movie star, and he’s had the career that he has had because his level of commitment and professionalism is unparalleled.

Are you afraid that kids today will say, ‘These are oldies, these are mom and dad songs’?

Patricia ‘Patti’ Whitman (Catherine Zeta-Jones, center) © 2012 Warner Bros

I don’t know if you’ve turned on the TV lately, but Don’t Stop Believing is the anthem of everything. We’re Not Going to Take It is that hotel commercial, where they’re talking about not wanting a bad cup of coffee! These songs are literally everywhere.

It’s a testament to the fact that these songs are evergreen, and that they are much more substantial than people gave them credit for. I think people thought that these songs were going to go away, and they haven’t. And the period was a party, and I think that younger people will discover that.

What do you hope the audience will take away from Rock of Ages?

I’d like to see the movie-going audiences jumping out of their seats just like the theatre audience did, and I think this story and these characters and this rockin’ music, performed by our unexpected and unbelievably talented cast, just might get them on their feet.

The first big music video that Adam choreographed was I’m Your Baby Tonight with Whitney Houston. To listen to his memories of shooting it and his relationship with the late star, click below.

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You can buy the CD with the music from the film, Rock of Ages, at Amazon here.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.