Yes, that really is Tom Cruise as hair band veteran Stacee Jaxx in Adam Shenkman’s Rock of Ages. Most of the world did a collective head scratch and a “Hunh?” when it was announced that Cruise would take the lead in a musical, let alone one based on a hit Broadway show. Rock of Ages is Shenkman’s adaptation of the 2006 Tony winner for Best Musical, which featured songs by bands like Bon Jovi, Styx, Journey and Pat Benatar. Cruise gets to blast Def Leppard’s "Pour Some Sugar on Me", among other songs.
Shenkman, who managed to pull a good performance out of John Travolta in Hairspray, has complete confidence in his star and calls him a “natural”. Cruise, for his part, seems to have done it just for the challenge and an adrenaline rush comparable to climbing around on the outside of the Burj Khalifa, not to mention wanting to please his wife, Katie Holmes, who is a dancer. (Awwww). I’m willing to give Tommy-Boy the benefit of the doubt. Despite his status as one of the world’s biggest, most bankable movie stars, he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. Would anyone have thought he had Les Grossman in him?
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The rest of the cast included Catherine Zeta Jones, Julianne Hough (as a small-town girl who arrives in Hollywood at the height of the 1980s rock-music scene), Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Will Forte and Mary J. Blige.
Rock of Ages rocks the house starting June 1 in the US and Canada and 29 June in the UK.