Is Tom Cruise ready to take the next step in his entertainment career and become an actual rock star?
The 49-year-old actor spent months training with a celebrity vocal coach to prepare for his role as rocker Stacee Jaxx in the 1980s themed musical film "Rock of Ages," which hit theaters on Friday, June 15. His performance has been praised by members of the band Poison and rock legend Gene Simmons of KISS. They attended the movie's recent premiere in Los Angeles.
"I had a discussion with him earlier about maybe coming out and doing a few shows," Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "It would be a dream if he did. I would love to take Tom on the road. Let's just say it now - we want Tom! He definitely passes. It was great."
Simmons said Cruise told him that he "took great pride in making sure that everybody knew that's him singing" in the movie."And that's what it is about rock - rock is real. It's not about the hip hop community and the divas that get up on stage with the dancers from Las Vegas, who should go back to pole dancing back there, and singing with tapes back there - shame on you," said the KISS rocker, who has in the past slammed music artists who lip-synch at concerts.
Simmons said it would not be a bad idea if Cruise were to go on tour and that he should put a band together, adding : "If he's willing to get up on stage and let the big boys should him how it's done, not a problem."
Cruise's spokesperson had no immediate comment about their remarks. When asked about possible tour plans, he told OnTheRedCaret.com at the "Rock of Ages" premiere: "Could you imagine?"
The actor has showcased his singing and dancing skills on film before. He famously sang The Righteous Brothers' ballad "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" in a group serenade to Kelly McGillis in the 1986 cult classic "Top Gun" and danced in his underwear to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" in the 1983 movie "Risky Business." At the "Rock of Ages" premiere, he wore aviator sunglasses similar to the shades he sports in "Top Gun."
"Rock of Ages" marks his first major on-screen musical debut. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand play an owner and manager of Los Angeles club The Bourbon Room and want Jaxx to perform at their club, which is on the verge of closing due to financial problems. Among the rocker's admirers is Sherrie, a starry-eyed small-town girl. Catherine Zeta-Jones, plays an evil mayor who has a beef with Jaxx.
Bret Michaels, Poison's lead singer, reviewed "Rock of Ages" for the website NextMovie and said: "If I had to give a rose or a thorn to Tom Cruise on pulling off the ultimate Bret Michaels party rock, he would get a bouquet of roses. He really nailed it."
Poison is known for the 1988 hits "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Nothin' But A Good Time," both of which are featured on the movie's soundtrack. The band is currently touring with Def Leppard, which spurred the 1983 anthem "Rock of Ages." In the film, Cruise sings the group's 1987 song "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and Bon Jovi's 1986 track "Wanted Dead Or Alive.""I spent many months and hours training my voice with a great vocal coach, Ron Anderson, and I also worked with Adam Anders, the music producer, and also dancing with [choreographer] Mia Michaels," Cruise told OnTheRedCarpet.com.
Anderson has in the past worked with famous singers such as Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses, Alicia Keys, Nelly Furtato, Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Anthony Kiedis and Flea, Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Enrique Iglesias and Selena Gomez as well as several "American Idol" contestants.
"In a movie, everything helps - the hair, the makeup," Cruise said. "But really the first hurdle and the first thing we had to figure out was it's not just learning how to sing, because I trained for five hours a day for many months ... it was finding out what is that rock voice and then kind of work on the behavior and the wardrobe from that. I had fun wearing all of it."
"Cruise said he "realized singing a song is very much like acting," adding: "You're there to tell a story and once I kind of figured that out, it was easier."
Constantine Maroulis, a finalist on the FOX reality show's fourth season, originated the role of aspiring rocker Drew Boley in the Broadway musical "Rock of Ages," which inspired the film. He has a cameo in the film. Drew Boneta plays his Broadway character in the movie and was also trained by Anderson, as did Julianne Hough, who plays Sherrie.
Michaels has worked as a choreographer on the FOX reality show "So You Think You Can Dance," which featured Adam Shankman, director of "Rock of Ages," as a judge between 2007 and 2010.
Shankman, who also directed the 2007 musical film "Hairspray," told OnTheRedCarpet.com that if Cruise hadn't been able to sing, they wouldn't have signed on to helm "Rock of Ages."
"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," the director said. "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."
Additional reporting by Tony Cabrera, correspondent of the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet," and Cari Skillman of KABC Television, which produces the series. (check for local TV listings).