I had some issues with Rock of Ages, mainly that it’s rated PG-13 and should be rated R. You can’t have that many sexual references in a PG-13 movie and have it be ok for 13-year-olds.
Still, there was a lot to love about Rock of Ages (@RockofAgesMovie on Twitter), Tom Cruise’s vocals being one of them. Even through all of his craziness, I’ve always been a fan, partly because he throws himself into every role with gusto — especially if it involves something he’s never done before. Hang from a building in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol? No problem? Be a foul-mouthed agent in Tropic Thunder? Done. Belt out 80s tunes as a rock star in Rock of Ages? That’s cool.
We can all take a page from Cruise’s book, because he doesn’t try to do these things on his own. He asks for help and hires the best trainers and coaches to get him where he needs to go. For Rock of Ages, he worked hard on his singing with Axl Rose’s former vocal coach Ron Anderson.
“Adam Shankman, the director, asked me if I could carry a tune,” Cruise explained in the June issue of W Magazine. “I said, ‘We’ll see, won’t we? This is either going to work or it’s going to be dreadful.’”
Well, it wasn’t dreadful. It was awesome. Jeremy Woodard, who began playing Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages on Broadway last September, agrees. “For him not to be a singer at all he sounded fantastic,” Woodard told the Wall Street Journal, admitting that maybe he has a teensy leg up on the mega-movie star. “I brought to it someone who’s come from a place of singing, so maybe I got him on that a little bit. I mean, with movies I guess they can fix mistakes, but here, we crack on stage and you’re going to hear every little thing that’s wrong.”
It’s interesting that Cruise never saw Woodard on stage before he began filming the movie, though he did see the Rock of Ages play in L.A. (and was also surprised with a three-song performance at a June 12 Friars Club event where he was honored with an Entertainment Icon Award).
Maybe he wanted to ensure that he’d bring his own rock-star chutzpah to the role of Stacee Jaxx without being clouded by another performance. I do that with my movie and TV reviews — never read other reviews until my own are filed. Because, you know, I’m like Tom Cruise that way.
Have you seen Rock of Ages yet? What did you think of Tom Cruise’s singing?