July 18th, 2012, by Rob

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Adam Shankman. The film is an adaptation of the 2006 Chris D’Arienzo rock jukebox Broadway musical of the same name. Originally scheduled to enter production in the Summer of 2010 for a 2011 release, it eventually started production in May 2011 and was released on June 15, 2012.

The film stars country singer Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta with an ensemble cast including Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Malin Åkerman, Bryan Cranston, with Alec Baldwin and Mary J. Blige. The film features the music of Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, David Lee Roth, Joan Jett, Extreme, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, Pat Benatar, Warrant, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Twisted Sister, Starship, Quarterflash, Quiet Riot, Skid Row, Scorpions and REO Speedwagon.



Rock of Ages Plot

In 1987, Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) travels from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a famous singer while barback Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) prepares for another night of work at “The Bourbon Room,” a popular nightclub on the Sunset Strip (“Sister Christian” / “Just Like Paradise” / “Nothin’ but a Good Time”). As Sherrie approaches The Bourbon, her suitcase, containing her favorite records, is stolen. Seeing the incident, Drew tries to catch the robber, but fails. He comforts Sherrie and, upon learning of her situation, he gets her a job at the Bourbon Room as a waitress.

The club’s owner, Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin), and his right-hand man, Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand), are trying to find a way to deal with unpaid taxes that are threatening the club, wishing their love of rock ‘n’ roll could keep it alive. Drew and Sherrie go to a Tower Records store and look through the used records for sale, both confessing their dreams of becoming famous (“Juke Box Hero” / “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”). Dennis and Lonny finally decide to book Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), a famous rock star who has recently announced that he will be resigning from his band, Arsenal, to perform at the Bourbon in hopes of raising enough money to clear up their debt. Upon hearing of Jaxx’s upcoming concert, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the religious conservative wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston), organizes her church to protest in front of the Bourbon Room, planning to shut them down in an attempt to rid L.A. of its “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” image (“Hit Me With Your Best Shot”).

Meanwhile, Drew’s and Sherrie’s relationship progresses and they slowly begin to fall in love (“Waiting for a Girl Like You”), with Drew admitting he has started writing a song for Sherrie. At the night of the show, Dennis learns that Arsenal’s opening act has cancelled its appearance, and Sherrie convinces him to use Drew and his band, Wolfgang Von Colt. Drew then confesses his feelings for Sherrie and they kiss (“More than Words” / “Heaven”). Meanwhile, Jaxx’s manager, Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti), schedules an interview between Jaxx and Constance Sack (Malin Åkerman), a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, before the concert. She mentions the rumors that Jaxx is difficult to work with and that he was actually kicked out of Arsenal, but Jaxx claims that his life is much more complicated than it appears to be (“Wanted Dead or Alive”). He then seduces her, and they are close to having sex (“I Want to Know What Love Is”) when one of his arrogant comments convinces her that it would be a mistake and causes her to leave.

While Drew is waiting to go on stage, he misconstrues Sherrie’s apologies to Jaxx for having broken his cut glass scotch bottle as an admission that they had sex. Drew uses all of his anger and rage to fuel his performance and is rewarded with thunderous applause (“I Wanna Rock”). He then angrily breaks up with Sherrie while Jaxx performs (“Pour Some Sugar on Me”). Heartbroken, she quits her job at the Bourbon Room and leaves. He decides to go after her, but is stopped by Gill, who had watched Wolfgang Von Colt’s performance and believes he can make Drew famous. Drew agrees and leaves with Gill, who also takes all the money raised by the show, leaving Dennis more in debt than before.

For days, Sherrie struggles to find a job (“Harden My Heart”) until Justice Charlier (Mary J. Blige), the owner of a local strip club called “The Venus Club,” takes Sherrie under her wing, allowing her to work in the club as a waitress (“Shadows of the Night” / “Harden My Heart”). Meanwhile, Drew signs with a record company while Sherrie struggles to financially support herself (“Here I Go Again”). Later, at the Bourbon Room, Dennis and Lonny declare their romantic feelings for one another and they share a kiss (“Can’t Fight This Feeling”).

Eventually, Sherrie is forced to become a stripper. Justice teaches her the essentials of being an exotic dancer while Drew learns that he must change his rock star image into that of a boy band (“Any Way You Want It”). A depressed Drew visits the Hollywood sign, where he finds Sherrie, who reveals both that she didn’t have sex with Jaxx and that she is going back to Oklahoma. Sherrie and Drew lament the situation while Jaxx realizes he has feelings for Constance (“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”). Drew returns to the record store where he first asked Sherrie out, and there, he finds that her previously stolen records, each one with her name signed on the cover. He buys them all and leaves them at the Venus Club with a message on the bag, telling her that things once lost can be found again. Meanwhile, Jaxx learns from Constance’s article that Gill had stolen the proceeds from the show at the Bourbon Room, and, angered, dismisses him.

That night, before Jaxx’s first solo show at the Bourbon, Patricia and her supporters square off against Jaxx’s enthusiasts, led by Lonny (“We’re Not Gonna Take It”/”We Built This City”). When Jaxx arrives, he seems to remember Patricia and greets her as “Patty.” Lonny also recognizes her from photo art inside one of Arsenal’s old records, and he exposes her as a former groupie of Arsenal, and hence a hypocrite, in front of everyone, humiliating her and ruining her anti-rock crusade. Jaxx enters the club and finds Constance, and professes his love for her by having sex with her in the bathroom. He also has his security return the stolen money to Dennis, who uses it to pay the taxes and save the club.

Drew’s boy band, the “Z Guyeezz,” begins to open the show. But the rocker crowd boos their pop/hip-hop, and Drew, spotting Sherrie in the audience, leaves the stage. The two reconcile and Drew also dismisses Gill, proclaiming that rock ‘n’ roll will never die. Sherrie then reunites Wolfgang Von Colt for the opening act, where Drew performs the song he wrote for her (“Don’t Stop Believin'”). Jaxx hears the song and seems to be moved by it. Shortly thereafter, Jaxx, who has rejoined Arsenal, performs the song with Drew and Sherrie, who is now part of Wolfgang von Colt, in an arena, in front of a crowd that includes Dennis, Lonny, Justice, a now-pregnant Constance, and Patricia, whose humiliation at exposure as a hypocrite has sent her back to her rock ‘n’ roll persona. They all join in and sing together.

Rock of Ages Cast

Diego Boneta as Drew Boley, the male protagonist who works as a barback at The Bourbon Room but dreams of being a rock star.
Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian, the female protagonist who works as a waitress at The Bourbon Room but wants to be a singer.
Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, the lead singer of Arsenal and Drew’s idol.
Russell Brand as Lonny Barnett, the manager of The Bourbon Room and a close friend (later the lover) of Dennis.
Paul Giamatti as Paul Gill, Stacee’s manipulative–and criminal–manager, who takes the part as the antagonist in Drew’s storyline.
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Patricia Whitmore, the main antagonist who wants to shut down The Bourbon Room…but who is concealing a secret of which she remains ashamed.
Mary J. Blige as Justice Charlier, the owner of The Venus Club who befriends Sherrie.
Malin Åkerman as Constance Sack, a Rolling Stone reporter who falls for Stacee.
Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree, the owner of The Bourbon Room and a close friend (later the lover) of Lonny.
Bryan Cranston as Mike Whitmore, the Mayor of Los Angeles and Patricia’s husband. The character is fictional; the Mayor of Los Angeles in 1987 was Tom Bradley.
James Martin Kelly as Doug Flintlock, L.A. power broker, and an antagonist who backs Mayor Whitmore in the interest of closing the Bourbon to build condos.
Will Forte as Mitch Miley, a reporter covering Patricia’s protests.
Anya Garnis as Destiny, one of the strippers at the Venus Club.
Kevin Nash and Jeff Chase as Stacee Jaxx’s bodyguards

Rock of Ages Cameos

Constantine Maroulis as a record executive.
Kidus Henok as himself at The Venus Club.
Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Deborah “Debbie” Gibson, Nuno Bettencourt, and Joel Hoekstra of Night Ranger all appear briefly as themselves.
Porcelain Black as a hair metal singer.
Derek Hough as a guy at The Venus Club.[citation needed]
T. J. Miller as the Rolling Stone receptionist.
Anne Fletcher as the Church horse mother.
Eli Roth as Stefano, the Z-Guyeezz music video director.

Rock of Ages Production

After the success of the original Off-Broadway production, the film rights were sold to Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.

Rock of Ages Casting

Tom Cruise played Stacee Jaxx in the film. Shankman knew Cruise was in when he heard him on the first go around of his voice lesson, confirming he “actually has a fantastic voice.” Cruise, since, had been singing five hours a day to prepare for his work as musician Stacee Jaxx. “It’s this brilliant mashup, it seems, of Axl Rose, Keith Richards and Jim Morrison,” Shankman said of what to expect from Cruise. All the actors sing all their own parts in the film. Cruise himself told People Weekly Magazine that he had always wanted to appear in a musical but that, even so, he found the idea frightening because he was uncertain whether he could actually pull it off. With Rock Of Ages, he told the interviewer, he had finally received his chance.

On February 14, 2011, it was announced that Mary J. Blige had signed on to play Justice Charlier in the film. On March 3, 2011, it was confirmed that Julianne Hough (of the 2011 remake of Footloose) would play the role of Sherrie, Drew’s love interest. On March 6, 2011, it was confirmed that Alec Baldwin would play the role of Dennis Dupree in the film. On March 24, 2011, it was announced that Paul Giamatti would be in the film, playing the manager of Stacee Jaxx.

Pretty Little Liars star Diego Boneta was confirmed to play the male protagonist, Drew Boley, on April 5, 2011. Not wanting an older actor to act like he is 23, Shankman thought it better to go as authentic as possible, “and Diego is absolutely that. He is [a] kid who came to Los Angeles with a dream and who sings and has an amazing voice, and drive. And he’s also as honest and sweet as you can possibly make him and he’s authentically the age. It creates a piece of something on screen that I don’t have to fabricate.” Of Boneta’s audition, Shankman said, “It’s that feeling you get when you realized you’ve discovered lightning in a bottle. It reminds me of when Zac Efron auditioned for Hairspray, Channing Tatum for Step Up, and Liam Hemsworth auditioned for The Last Song. When the guy walks in, the guy walks in!” Shankman also said he did not know that Boneta was a Latin music star until after he auditioned. “I have since seen him on stage and in his concerts, and he totally owns the room,” Shankman said. Constantine Maroulis (Drew Boley from the musical) made a cameo appearance in the film like Ricki Lake did for Hairspray. On April 13, Russell Brand was confirmed to portray Lonny. Both Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams declined to play a journalist who interviews Jaxx during the song “Wanted Dead or Alive” and is easily seduced by him. The two declined due to scheduling conflicts, with Hathaway filming The Dark Knight Rises and Adams filming Man of Steel. Catherine Zeta-Jones joined the cast on April 20, and portrayed an original character added to the story line. The unnamed character is described as “the Villainess of the movie” who “wants to shut down rock’n roll in the great city of Los Angeles.” On May 1 Bryan Cranston joined the cast as the Mayor of Los Angeles, who is the husband of Catherine Zeta-Jones’s character, and Malin Åkerman completed the cast when she was added on May 3, 2011, taking the role initially offered to both Hathaway and Adams.

Singer Porcelain Black made a cameo in the film, playing a 1980s hair metal singer. She performed one of the sole original tracks for the film, “Rock Angels.” “Rock Angels” was written and composed by Adam Anders and Desmond Child. Professional wrestler Kevin Nash played Stacee’s bodyguard.
Principal photography

Filming began at Revolution Live, a small music venue in Fort Lauderdale, FL. There was also filming in a Dania Beach Boomers. On July 18, filming took place at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, for a concert scene with “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

In June 2011, a full six-block section of N.W. 14th Street at North Miami Avenue in Downtown Miami was decorated as an early 1980s version set of the Hollywood, California Sunset Strip complete with the Whisky-a-Go-Go, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Tower Records, Angelyne Billboard along with other landmarks.

Rock of Ages Musical Numbers

“Sister Christian” / “Just Like Paradise” / “Nothin’ but a Good Time” – Sherrie, Drew, Lonny, Dennis
“Juke Box Hero” / “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – Drew, Dennis, Lonny, Sherrie
“Hit Me with Your Best Shot” – Patricia
“Waiting for a Girl Like You” – Drew, Sherrie
“More Than Words” / “Heaven” – Sherrie, Drew
“Wanted Dead or Alive” – Stacee, Sherrie
“I Want to Know What Love Is” – Stacee, Constance
“I Wanna Rock” – Drew
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” – Stacee
“Harden My Heart” – Sherrie, Justice
“Shadows of the Night” / “Harden My Heart” – Justice, Sherrie
“Here I Go Again” – Drew, Paul, Sherrie, Justice, Stacee
“Can’t Fight This Feeling” – Lonny, Dennis
“Any Way You Want It” – Justice, Record executive, Sherrie
“Undercover Love” – Drew
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Sherrie, Drew, Stacee, Justice
“We Built This City” / “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Lonny, Patricia
“Don’t Stop Believin'” – Sherrie, Drew, Stacee, Dennis, Lonny, Justice
“Paradise City” (end credits) – Tom Cruise
“Rock You Like a Hurricane” (end credits) – Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise

Other songs appear in the film as sung by the original artists. These do not appear on the official soundtrack.

“I Remember You” by Skid Row
“Everybody Wants Some!!” by Van Halen
“Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard
“Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” by Def Leppard
“Talk Dirty to Me” by Poison
“No One Like You” by Scorpions
“Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot

Score production and changes

In bringing the musical from stage to screen, many of the songs used in the original musical were either moved around, shortened, or removed, while some new songs were added to the film.

“Cum On Feel the Noize/We’re Not Gonna Take It (Reprise),” “The Final Countdown,” “High Enough,” “Beaver Hunt,” “I Hate Myself for Loving You/Heat of the Moment,” “Keep on Loving You,” “Oh Sherrie,” “The Search Is Over,” and “Renegade” were completely cut from the film, although the version of “Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot was used as background score.

Similarly, many songs from the musical became mash-ups in the film or had sections of their original mash-up version removed in their film versions. “Just Like Paradise,” “Nothin’ but a Good Time,” and “Sister Christian” all become one long mash-up instead of two individual songs (“Just Like Paradise/Nothin’ but a Good Time” & “Sister Christian”). “Too Much Time on My Hands,” originally mashed-up with “We Built This City,” was removed, with “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” originally a full length song in the musical, being mashed-up with “We Built This City” instead. “To Be with You” was removed from the mash-up that included “More Than Words” and “Heaven.” The “I Wanna Rock (Reprise)” section originally mashed-up with “Any Way You Want It” was removed, with “Any Way You Want It” instead being the original full-length song.

Also, many songs from the original musical were reordered in the film, mostly to accommodate character and storyline changes. “We Built This City,” in its original mash-up form, and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” were originally much earlier in the musical, giving depth to Regina. They were replaced with “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” another song sung by Regina in the musical, which now served to give more background to new character Patricia (as Regina was cut from the film), with both songs (in an abridged form) instead added to the climax of the film, as part of an anthem between Lonny and the rockers and Patricia and her conservative church group. “I Wanna Rock”, originally the fourth song of the musical, was moved to after “I Want to Know What Love Is” (which in itself was changed from a duet between Sherrie and Jaxx to Jaxx and new character Constance), with the song now representing Drew’s anger toward what he wrongly perceives to be Sherrie’s infidelity. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and “More Than Words”/”Heaven” switched order in the film version, in order to accommodate the changes in the relationship storyline between Drew and Sherrie. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” was also placed before “Any Way You Want It” due to the restructure of storylines.

New songs that were added to the film include a mash-up of “Juke Box Hero”/”I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which replaced the original purpose of “I Wanna Rock” in the musical, “Undercover Love,” which was used for Drew’s short-lived boy band, and “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Paradise City,” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane” replacing “Beaver Hunt” and serving as Arsenal’s discography.

Rock of Ages Release

The film is distributed by New Line Cinema under the rule of Warner Bros., and was released theatrically on June 15, 2012. The first official trailer was released on December 14, 2011, attached to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Rock of Ages Reception

The film has received mixed reviews from critics. Currently, the film has a 40% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 174 reviews and a 45% top critic rating based on 40 reviews, but has a 64% “liked it” audience rating based on 34,195 reviews. The critic consensus being “Its exuberant silliness is almost enough to make up for its utter inconsequentiality, but Rock of Ages is ultimately too bland and overlong to justify its trip to the big screen.”

However, most critics appreciated the performance by Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx. For example, Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers wrote: “Rock of Ages is pretty fun despite a terrible script, bland leads and awful wigs, mainly thanks to a performance by Tom Cruise as fictional hair metal rocker Stacee Jaxx.”

Rock of Ages Box Office

On its opening weekend in theaters, the film grossed $14,437,269, ranking third place, behind the previous week’s holdovers Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Prometheus. The film did, however, do better business than the other newcomer, That’s My Boy.

Although grossing much lower than expected, the film still had the sixth-highest opening ever for a musical, and third all-time for one adapted from a stage production.




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