At Hollywood Premiere, Cast & Crew Marvel at Actor's Transformation Into 'Sexy Rock n' Roll Monster'
Hollywood transformed into an 80's version of The Sunset Strip on Friday as stars arrived for the premiere of "Rock of Ages," eager to celebrate Tom Cruise's rock star debut as the legendary Stacee Jaxx.
Cruise told Billboard that his transformation from "Mission: Impossible" action star to self-absorbed rock God -- complete with flowing locks, guyliner, suggestive tattoos, and Jagger-worthy swagger -- didn't occur overnight. Preparation for the role involved spending five hours a day singing, dancing, and training his voice.
"I went and studied the history of music -- the history of rock and roll. I called friends [like] Cameron Crowe." Cruise admitted to examining all the trends of the hair band era and really wrapping his head around, "What does a rock star do?" reading biographies of every rock legend he could get his hands on, including Led Zeppelin.
While Rock of Ages features a cast of renowned actors (Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin…) everyone involved felt honored to have worked with Cruise.
Adam Anders, the film's executive music producer, said that vocal-training Cruise was "probably the coolest experience of [his] life." Early in the production, director Adam Shankman asked Anders to go to Cruise's house to hear him sing. While he wasn't exactly a natural, Cruise did exhibit an incredible rock voice. "He literally learned how to sing these songs in three months and he never sung in his life. It's pretty unbelievable."
Choreographer Mia Michaels, who was responsible for Cruise's on screen "moves," told us the actor came a long way from when she started working with him. "I watched the transformation not only physically but vocally and dance wise. Stacee Jaxx became this sexy rock and roll monster."
REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin, who has a cameo in the film, joked that Cruise stole a little of his spotlight. "He was OK but I personally think I carried the scene."
Poison was so impressed with Cruise as Stacee Jaxx that C.C. Deville has conducted a secret mission to replace Bret Michaels with Cruise. "He did such a good job… I'm going to try to nudge him into that career. Let's get him out on the road!"
Many of the rockers who walked the carpet told us Rock of Ages took them right back to their glory days of pounding the pavement on The Sunset Strip.
For Lita Ford, the film brought back crazy memories like the time she left The Rainbow with Nikki Sixx who was assaulted by a stranger. "This guy started beating Nikki and Nikki was down on the ground and started swinging his belt around." Ford says the police arrive and one of the officers was inadvertently nailed with the belt. "Nikki got thrown in jail. I had to put up the pink slip of my car and bail him out and not tell mom and dad."
Def Leppard's Joe Elliott joked that Rock of Ages is like a museum of all the trouble the band got themselves into in the early days. "We have a lot of good stories but nothing we can share without a lawyer present!"
Gene Simmons explained that KISS broke The Sunset Strip in for the hair/metal bands honored in Rock of Ages. "We pounded the pavement in the '70's when a lot of these guys were still little children in their moms' wombs." He also cited his favorite hair band trend as being "when guys tried to dress as pretty as their girlfriends."
"Electric Youth" singer Debbie Gibson was happy to see so many people out in support of the hair band music era and she admitted to being a giant Poison fan despite C.C.'s 1988 rumor about the two of them being engaged. "People still come up to him and say, 'Where's Debbie. Are you guys married yet or what?"
Joel Hoekstra of Night Ranger has been part of the Rock of Ages on Broadway for the past three and a half years and considers it a masterpiece. "The hope is that it will expose this amazing music to a whole new generation of people and that's what's really cool about it."
Rock of Ages hits theaters June 15.