MANILA, Philippines --- Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise once thought he wouldn’t be able to convince the public of his portrayal of fictional rock star Stacee Jaxx in the film version of “Rock of Ages.”
During the early days of filming, Cruise confided to director Adam Shankman that if he could not sing the part, he wouldn’t be up for it.
Recalled Shankman, “There was a moment when we were looking at each other and Tom said, ‘Well, what if I can’t sell this? Because I won’t do it if it’s not me singing.’ With everything he does, from stunts to performing in front of an audience, it has to be him doing it.
“He believes his audience has come to expect that, and why bother doing it otherwise? But this is what he loves. He loves making movies and he wants to be really good, so he works harder than anybody at it.”
But Cruise went to great lengths to pull the rock star stunt. Instead of concentrating on cuts of his muscles, which he usually does in his action films, Cruise zeroed in on his vocal capacity. He would later realize that he can in fact sing very well. Yes, even that belting part, Cruise did well, all by himself, in “Rock of Ages.”
“From the moment he signed on, Tom started training his voice with an incredible vocal coach, Ron Anderson,” said 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.”
The filmmaker confessed to feeling of relief when he found out Cruise could really pipe out songs because he had always wanted a Hollywood biggie to play Stacee Jaxx. “The joy at having discovered that he can sing was a huge relief.” Shankman admitted.
In the plot, “Stacee Jaxx is the rock god that every guy 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.”
Shankman looked back at how his casting dream became a reality: “I was thinking to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we got one of the biggest movie stars in the world to play one of the biggest rock stars in the world?’ As luck would have it, I ran into Tom Cruise, told him I was directing this movie, that it was a musical, and that I was going to offer him this part. He said, ‘Are you serious?’ I said I was. Then I described Stacee to him and he laughed really hard. The next thing I knew, he was in, and I was making a musical with Tom Cruise.”
Luckily for the “Hairspray” director, Cruise exceeded expectations: “Tom is a rock god because he brings all of the star power that comes along with being Tom Cruise, and he’s found a character that audiences have never seen before.”
However, Cruise is not the only A-lister lending star power to the film, Alec Baldwin and Catherine Zeta-Jones are also on board as well as Russell Brand, Paul Giamati an Malin Akerman.
The New Line Cinema production distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures opens June 14.