Tuesday, April 26, 2011

'Rock of Ages' Movie Casting News

The complete failure of the movie version of the musical "Nine" with critics and at the box office helped to bring the movie musical genre closer back to death's door. Starting with "Evita" in 1996 audiences could count on movie studios to churn out at least one movie musical almost every year. Most achieved hit status with either critics, audiences or soundtrack sales or a combination of these further paving the way for future filmed musicals.

After "Nine," 2010 and 2011 will remain a drought for the genre until next year's release of the 'Rock of Ages' movie. (Note: Although "Burlesque" starring Cher and Christina Aguilera was released in 2010 and termed a musical, all the songs featured were part of the burlesque show or its rehearsal rather than characters breaking out in song off stage.) The 'Rock of Ages' feature film is being adapted from the Tony Award nominee for best musical that opened on Broadway in 2009 and continues to run to the surprise of almost everyone two years later.

Diego Boneta plays the lead role of Drew in the
'Rock of Ages' feature film
(image credit: Lesley Bryce)
Set in 1987 on the Sunset Strip, 'Rock of Ages' tells the story a small-town girl who meets a big-city rocker in a rock club in Los Angeles and fall in love to the greatest songs of the '80s. The love story is told through the hits of Journey, Bon Jovi, Poison and many more. To the shock of stage industry experts, the show received five Tony Award nominations. It won none of those awards but the nominations and exposure from a performance on the televised awards helped to cement a more than decent run in New York and profitability.

Unlike stage musicals adapted to movies such as "Rent" or "The Producers" which used most of the original cast members (and both becoming box-office bombs), Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema are pulling in the stars to headline 'Rock of Ages' on the big screen.

Adam Shankman who directed and choreographed the hit movie version of "Hairspray" is also at the helm of the 'Rock of Ages' movie to do the same. In casting news, these are the actors announced for the film:

Tom Cruise (as Stacee Jaxx), Russell Brand (Lonnie), Alec Baldwin (Dennis Dupree), Paul Giamatti (Paul Gill), Julianne Hough (Sherrie Christian) and Mary J. Blige (Justice Charlier).  Catherine Zeta-Jones is the latest actor to be connected to the movie. She will play a new villain role written for the film as the city mayor's wife who hopes to do away with rock 'n roll. Diego Boneta who has appeared on the television series "Pretty Little Liars" and the CW's "90210" is cast in the lead role of Drew Boley, previously played on stage by American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis. Bryan Cranston of TV's "Breaking Bad" is in talks to play the role of the mayor.

Filming is set to begin in May 2011 with a release date of June 1, 2012. Until then the stage production continues to run on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The show is on a North American Tour and can be seen in Melbourne, Australia. A London production is set to open August 31, 2011. Visit rockofagesmusical.com for info about the various stage productions and tickets. The Original Cast Recording of 'Rock of Ages' is available on CD and iTunes.

The original Broadway cast of 'Rock of Ages' (image credit: Joan Marcus)


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