Exclusive: The “Rock of Ages” director talks about his leading man’s vocal chops and the latest addition to the cast, Paul Giamatti
Yes, Tom Cruise really can sing.
That’s the word from “Rock of Ages” director Adam Shankman, who admits that even he wondered whether the actor had the vocal chops for the lead role in New Line’s musical.
Cruise, best known for his intensity, rather than vocal range, has been undergoing intensive vocal training to take on the role of Stacee Jaxx, the biggest rock star in the world.
"He's been studying with — seriously — Axl Rose's voice teacher like five hours a day," Shankman told TheWrap Thursday. "The prognosis is more than excellent."
The director said that he heard Cruise sing at the actor's house.
"That was a big moment," he said. "That voice lesson where he opened up and suddenly let loose and was really great. The two of us in concert breathed a collective sigh of relief to the tune of dancing around his living room."
They even high-fived, the director said.
Shankman also talked about the latest addition to the growing cast — Paul Giamatti — another actor not necessarily known for his singing ability.
Giamatti will play a manager "who basically ends up representing the corporatization of music and sort of the death of art," Shankman said. "He decided it sounded really fun to play … a sleazy Hollywood agent-type in the '80s and sing."
The director said that he understands many audience members are curious about whether the actors will be able to sing.
"All these people will want to see all these giant stars singing karaoke with great big hair and makeup," he said.
And he said Giamatti (below, right) will be very funny.
"Having another one of these actor's actors in the role, he just suits this character so well," he said. "He and Tom are going to be so freakin' hilarious together."
"I think we have much funny in store."
The cast also includes Mary J. Blige, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin and Mexican singer and actor Diego Boneta. Russell Brand is in final negotiations for the film, as well.
"Rock of Ages" is a major project — an adaptation of the Broadway hit.
The movie is a love story told through the music of Pat Benetar, Bon Jovi, Journey, Poison, Twisted Sister and other artists from the 1980s. Cruise plays the rocker Stacee Jaxx, and will sing the Bon Jovi anthem "Dead or Alive."
Chris D'Arienzo, Michael Arndt and Alan Loeb are writing the adaptation and Jennifer Gibgot, Carl Levin, Tobey Maguire, Scott Prisand and Matt Weaver are producing.
The movie has a release date of June 1, 2012.
Giamatti is repped by UTA.