Russell Brand is in talks to once again play a rocker.
The English comedian, voice-star of this past weekend's top film, "Hop," as well as Warner's upcoming "Arthur," is in final negotiations to join New Line's "Rock of Ages," TheWrap confirmed.
Director Adam Shankman told TheWrap that "everything is in the negotiations phase" with several actors and that he expects to make several announcements about the cast this week.
Brand already looks like a rock star, and played one in "Get Him to the Greek" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."
He also confirmed that Diego Boneta (right), the Mexican singer and actor, will play the role of Drew Boley, a singer-guitarist described as "the nicest aspiring rocker you'll find in the Bourbon Room."
Shankman and New Line had held an open casting to fill the role, but the Gersh Agency submitted Boneta.
The director said the actor was a natural for the part.
He added that casting Boneta in the role reminded him of casting Nikki Blonsky in the role of Tracy Tumblad in his 2007 hit "Hairspray."
"It was like 'Hairspray' all over again," he said. "I wanted to bring somebody who … was the character — who was never going to have to play at being the character and who was exactly the right age and who felt literally like he came from 1987."
He said Boneta had all that.
In addition, Boneta's mother is from Detroit — the hometown of the Drew Boley character.
Shankman compared the actor to other stars he has helped launch.
"Channing Tatum, Zac Efron, we've done it a lot," he said. "Liam Hemsworth — I gave him his first gig. We seem to have a track record."
He said Boneta is a star of that caliber.
"Plus he sings, and truthfully, little girls' hearts all over the world are going to go crazy."
Meanwhile, he said the open casting was helpful.
"It worked out really, really well," he said. "We're looking at some other stuff for some of the people we found there."
"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."
The movie also stars Julianne Hough, Mary J. Blige and Alec Baldwin.
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.