Tom Cruise‘s bread-and-butter is action movies, but every now and then he’s willing to try something new like he did with Collateral (the only movie where he plays a villain), Magnolia (the biggest supporting role in his career), and disappearing under the make-up and personality of Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. His newest challenge will be playing rocker Stacee Jaxx in Adam Shankman‘s adaptation of the rock musical Rock of Ages. The plot centers on a small-town-girl (Julianne Hough) who falls for Jaxx against the backdrop of 80s rock like Journey, SEO Speedwagon, and Styx. Cruise recently spoke about what drew him to the project, and how he prepared for his role.
Hit the jump for more. The outstanding cast also includes Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Will Forte, Mary J. Blige, and Diego Gonzalez Boneta. Rock of Ages opens June 1, 2012.
Speaking to 24 Frames, Cruise says his decision to join Rock of Ages came from a combination of his wife’s influence and trying to build on his hip-hop work from Tropic Thunder:
“I had started dancing because I was inspired by my wife. She kept saying, ‘You’ve got to do a musical sometime,'” Cruise said. “[Katie Holmes] is a dancer, so she would say, ‘Let’s go to dance class,’ and she would take us and that’s how I kind of came up with the idea of Les Grossman doing hip-hop. And then to take it to this level with this? It was really fun.”
Cruise says he was also impressed with Shankman’s previous musical adaptation, Hairspray:
“What he accomplished with ‘Hairspray’ was amazing. My daughter has seen it 15 times and our whole family has watched it over and over and it’s just enormously entertaining. To be able to hold that tone throughout is really something.”
Just like he commits himself to the physical demands of acting in an action film (he did an insane stunt off the tallest building in the world for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Cruise says he prepped for six months to do Rock of Ages and was working on singing for five hours a day and dancing for five hours a day. We’ll see if it pays off when the musical hits theaters next summer.