It will be interesting to see how "Rock of Ages" plays in a theater. At times, the film really does feel like a rock concert. Which is great when surrounded by other rock concert fans -- or even other Broadway musical fans who can be easily energized by the stage actors -- but that's not always going to be the case at a movie theater. This is a scenario I discussed with star Diego Boneta
In "Rock of Ages" -- based on the highly successful Broadway musical of the same name -- Boneta plays Drew, a young bar back who wants nothing more than the fame and fortune that comes along with being a rock star on the Sunset Strip, circa 1987. He co-stars along with Tom Cruise, a veteran (and baboon-owning) rocker named Stacee Jaxx who may or may not have lost touch with reality. Along the way, many Journey and Twisted Sister songs are played.
Had you seen the Broadway production before filming?
I knew about the musical. And I wanted to watch it before doing the movie, but [director] Adam [Shankman] said, "No. Don't watch it. I don't want you to be influenced by the musical because there's going to be a lot of changes in the movie." It's the same premise, but there are characters in the musical that aren't in the movie. And some new characters. And Drew is a little different in the movie. So, I saw the show after I finished the movie. And I loved it; it was so much fun. And I realized it's not an easy play to adapt to a musical film.
Speaking of changes, I do wish you would have sang "Oh Sherrie."
I know! I know. I know. They did play it, for a little bit. But I was waiting, yeah. I love that song. I know. Steve Perry, man.
I think a person's enjoyment of this film will directly correlate to the type of crowd that he or she sees it with. Do you agree?
There's a concert feel to this movie. So, in other words: A boisterous crowd will make this movie a fun experience.
For sure. It makes perfect sense. And I completely agree. And I think that the louder the music is in the theater and the louder the crowd is, the more fun the experience. I think you're absolutely right.
If you see a matinee where there might not be as big of a crowd, it almost feels like a rock concert in which you're supposed to just sit there and not make any noise.
If you want to go there and watch it by yourself, do you want to rock out and sing every song? Or do you want to be in a full theater that's doing the same thing that you're doing?
By design, there is a cheese factor in this movie. Was there any line at all that you remember thinking, I don't think I can say that with a straight face?
The entire "Undercover Love" song. [Starts singing] You, me, maybe we could have a bay-be." Yeah. That was ... well, kind of a guilty pleasure. My entire family tells me to dance the choreography every time they see the movie. That darn wig, I want to burn it.
Hopefully that doesn't follow you around your entire career.
Me too, man.
Constantine Maroulis played Drew on Broadway. Did you two get a chance to talk on set?
Yeah! Constantine has a cameo in the movie. He's an awesome guy, man. He's a great singer and he was very cool to work with. And, yeah, we talked. I didn't see the musical until after, but I saw clips of him performing all of these songs. And, man, he really killed it. I was like, "Dude, I really hope I can pull it off the same way you pulled it off." And he listened to the tracks and he was like, "Dude, it sounds great." It really meant a lot to me.
What was your favorite song to perform? [Our call disconnects.]
I lost you, man!
When I didn't hear a response, I was like, "C'mon, what a softball question. He's going to hang up because of that?"
Yeah, you pissed me off! [Laughs] No. By the way, "I Wanna Rock" was very cool to perform. It was tough, though. It was a workout. Each take was a workout -- jumping with that guitar and doing all that crazy stuff. It was pretty nuts. It took at least two months to do the choreography for that.
Oh, yeah. We were working on it and fine tuning it. Adding stuff and taking away stuff -- and I'm very happy with how it turned out.
This is your first leading role in a major movie. When you were on set, were you like, Yep, there's Tom Cruise and a baboon, this is normal?
No. It was a very humbling experience and I learned so much. I was on set every day, even if I wasn't shooting. I was sitting right next to Adam, learning as much as I could and watching all of these amazing actors do their work. The most amazing thing with seeing Tom on set -- he treated this movie like it was his first and last movie ever. He was so excited and so pumped about being in this movie that it was very inspiring to see someone -- who's worked with everyone and done everything -- be that way on set. And he was so humble. He's just as humble as he is talented.
I will say this: He goes for it as Stacee Jaxx.
One hundred percent. What can't Tom do?
In the musical, the song Drew is writing is "Heaven" by Warrant. In the film, it's "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. Why did that change happen?
I don't know. But, I kinda wish that were a little true, man. I wish I would have written "Don't Stop Believin'."
I think a lot of us wish that.
Yeah, right? It's a pretty epic song. Journey is sick. Steve Perry is one of the best singers of all time. And being able to sing the song that he wrote was an honor. Truly an honor. And finding my own voice and finding my character's voice singing these songs was really a fun journey.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. He's seen Rock of Ages twice on Broadway. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.
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