"Rock of Ages" director Adam Shankman told OnTheRedCarpet.com that if Tom Cruise hadn't been able to sing, they wouldn't have done the rock musical at all.
"I'm one of those believers who think that [Tom Cruise] can really do anything he put his mind to and that is exactly who he proved to be," Shankman told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a recent junket. "He has a huge, huge voice - which we didn't know was going to be as good as it was. But there was definitely a discussion where if it wasn't great, then we weren't going to do this."
"Once we had the initial vocal sessions, where he was working with his vocal coach, he then began to sing for months for four or five hours a day and he worked on it so hard that it totally paid off," Shankman added.
In "Rock of Ages," Julianne Hough, formerly of the 2011 "Footloose" reboot, plays main character Sherrie Christian, a small town girl who moves to Los Angeles to pursue singing and ends up waitressing at the Bourbon Room and stripping at a gentlemen's club. Diego Boneta, formerly of the show "90210," plays aspiring rock star Drew Boley, who is a bartender at the club.
Tom Cruise plays bad boy rocker Stacie Jaxx, who is invited by the owner and manager of the Bourbon Room, played by Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, to perform his farewell show with his band Arsenal at the venue in a bid to raise income to try and save it.
Cruise's character comes across as being a mash-up of several different rock stars, taking elements from Axl Rose, Steven Tyler and Jon Bon Jovi.
"The reason [Tom Cruise] ended up being like that is that they all seemed to have the same issues, which is that they were - they all really lived on stage and most really didn't know how to live in the world other than to just blow it out and party," Shankman said. "It was a world where arena rock, the more outrageous the behavior, certainly the more interesting. There were no rules, there was no one saying 'no,' it was just endless girls, booze, drugs, money - there was no consequence!"
"You could have sex with 1,000 girls in one night and there was no thought of AIDS. You could do mountains of drugs and there was no such thing as rehab... It was just like children run amuck with excess," he said.
The film is based on a Broadway jukebox musical. Along with Benatar's song, "Rock of Ages" features other 1980s power ballads and rock anthems from the likes of "hair metal" bands Foreigner, Poison, Whitesnake, Joan Jett and Def Leppard, which released the title track "Rock of Ages" in 1983.
Shankman is best known for directing the musical movie remake of "Hairspray." The longtime choreographer also directed "A Walk to Remember," "Bringing Down the House," "The Pacifier" and "Bedtime Stories."
"Rock of Ages" is set for release on Friday, June 15.
Reporting by Cari Skillman of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).