Catherine Zeta-Jones Interview For ‘Rock of Ages’
Directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray), the feature film adaptation of the smash hit Broadway musical, ‘Rock of Ages,’ tells the story of small town girl Sherrie and city boy Drew, who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock ‘n’ roll romance is told through the classic 80s rock ‘n’ roll hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake, and more. Arriving in cinemas June 15th, ‘Rock of Ages’ stars Julianne Hough, Malin Akerman, Russell Brand, actor/singer Diego Boneta in his feature film debut, Oscar nominees Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and Paul Giamatti, Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, R&B queen Mary J. Blige, and multiple Emmy-winner Bryan Cranston.
Before jumping onboard with this, was ‘Rock of Ages’ a play you had seen before?
Catherine Zeta-Jones: I hadn’t seen the play and I still haven’t. Funnily enough, with ‘Chicago,’ I had never seen it on stage before I did it. And then when I knew I was doing it I made a point not too. And it’s the same with ‘Rock of Ages.’ I hear it’s fantastic, but my character is not even in the play. So when Adam Shankman called me it was one of those things of, “When are we doing it? Oh, we’re doing it in a month, I can do that.” And so it was a quick turnaround. Before I knew it I was on set and doing it.
How does the rehearsal process differ with a musical movie, like ‘Chicago’ and ‘Rock of Ages,’ to a musical on stage like ‘A Little Night Music’?
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Rehearsal was pretty intense, but it’s so rewarding doing a musical movie. It’s hard work, it’s not like doing a Broadway play. On a stage musical, at least with that there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. Then you have an applause, then you go home. With a musical movie it’s endless shooting a number (laughs), with the different camera angles and stuff like that. But making it, it was a lot of fun. And I think when people go and see the movie you see how much fun the actors are having on the screen. And you go along with it too, it’s not like you’re sitting there and thinking, “Well, they’re having fun.” It’s a really great ride this movie, ‘Rock of Ages.’ It’s the same in finding the character though, in rehearsal you really have to find the character you play. Embody them.
Your character, Patricia, she’s sort of the villain in the film. I can imagine that being a lot of fun?
Catherine Zeta-Jones: It’s great playing a villain, it really is. When Adam asked me, “Do you want to sing and dance again darling?” I said, “Yes, sure I‘ll do that.” He said, “You get to sing a Pat Benatar song and a song with your fellow British person Russell Brand.” (Laughs) I went, “Terrific.” Then he goes, “And you play the villain.” I said, “Fantastic! Count me in, I want to be in that gang.” I think Patricia Whitmore is the kind of woman who sees her role as first lady of Los Angeles as being much more important than her husband’s role as mayor, and there’s no question as to who wears the pants in the family. She’s an outspoken activist who feels rock ‘n’ roll is satanic music, and she creates a campaign to clean up what she believes is the real filth of her city’s streets: rock music. And singing ‘Hit Me with Your Best Shot’, that was a great one to have. When you see the movie you see exactly the environment I do it, which is kind of funny (laughs). Even before seeing the script I knew it would be a blast and I had to be a part of it.
The cast for the film is phenomenal. What was it working with them? Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, that’s a role people may not automatically expect from….
Catherine Zeta-Jones: He formidable, he’s a great actor. He just throws himself into his work at 125%, even more (laughs). And it pays off, I think people are going to be surprised by how much fun he has with this role. And he’s terrific in ‘Rock of Ages,’ he really comes up with the goods. And he can sing, he belted it out! Everyone really threw themselves into it. I wish I could have had more scenes with the rest of the ensemble cast because it’s a pretty special cast. It’s a wonderful array of great actors who bring their own individuality. I got to work with Bryan Cranston a lot, who I just think is…with whatever he does; drama, comedy….he can scare the living daylights out of you or he can make you crack up with his fantastic dry sense of humour. He has such great delivery of lines. It was a complete blast.
A big theme of ‘Rock of Ages’ is chasing your dreams. When did the acting, or performance bug come to you?
Catherine Zeta-Jones: To be honest, I can’t remember when I didn’t have that desire to be in show business. I can’t remember not wanting to be an actor. And it wasn’t about, “I want to be famous.” It was more, “I want to be on the stage. I want to be in shows.” Television and movies didn’t even cross my mind at first, at that young age. But I remember that I wanted to be on the stage. Sometimes I hid behind that extrovert that I had onstage, because I was quite a shy person. But if you put me on a stage, or even in front of someone to perform, it was like the lights came on. I’ve always wanted to do it.
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