The first trailer for the Hollywood makeover of Broadway musical and ’80s metal music driver “Rock of Ages” has arrived. Adam Shankman — who brought “Hairspray” to the big-screen in 2007 — is at the helm, and has revealed plot points and actual hairspray in this early glimpse.
Below are five things we’ve gleaned from the preview of “Rock of Ages,” due June 1 next year:
The “bad guys” are no longer German developers who intend on making-over the sexy rock lair that is the Sunset Strip. Now, the opposition takes the form of religious parents hell-bound (heh) on censoring the rockers and shutting down their clubs.
In the Broadway show, foreign real estate developers tell the city they’d like to clean up the area (for a profit). Here, the script turns its focus on prudish conservative voices, a contingency that still informs cultural politic today. It’s an updated problem, likely with a “conversion” as part of its solution. Just wait til they get a load of that strip club, I’ll bet its not dirty at all, considering this will end up as a PG or PG-13 flick.
You know what’s funny? Hair. You know what was funny about “Hairspray?” The hair! But at the end of a two-and a-half-minute trailer, I don’t really wanna talk about hair anymore. Yes, hairstyles from the ’80s were very bad and very much a reality of unchecked, meaningless suffering. It wasn’t called “hair metal” for nothing. But the temptation to overshadow a legitimate moment in rock history with Alec Baldwin’s wig could possibly send this nostalgic trip to camp.
Hair metal was an overt meeting of sex and heavy metal music on a grand commercial scale, with the influence of glam and biker culture informing its fashion. It’s a fun intersection. Depicting it can be oddly delicate though: hopefully producers pay as much attention and homage to it as they did the gritty architecture in recreating the Sunset Strip itself (filmed in the middle of ghetto Miami, to boot).
Damn, Tom Cruise. Damn.
It takes the trailer a minute to get to its reveal, the man-child Stacee Jaxx played by the “Mission Impossible” star. Jaxx is a rocker on his way from band leader to solo artist at an age just soaring out of his 20s. Cruise is about to turn 50, but he’s looking like his 30s here.
Julianne Hough still looks like a blank slate. The dancer and singer had a big break with the 2011 remake of “Footloose,” but we don’t yet have any sense of her personality as Sherrie in the film here, particularly with her voice. She’ll have to push her country roots aside to tackle this edgier material, which isn’t exactly clear in the cover of awful, awful “We Built This City”/”We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Diego Bonita as Drew faces a similar problem, considering the star-studliness of the film seems to gloss over the romantic plot in this clip.
And where the hell is Bryan Cranston? We demand Cranston.
Def Leppard are cashing in. Despite the original musical having taken its name after one of their songs, Def Leppard — along with Universal — never allowed Broadway producers the rights to their tunes. There was a likely trepidation: a jukebox musical could just as easily make fun of them as it does celebrate them. Perhaps the deep pockets of Warner Bros. and Shankman’s assurances were enough to help change their mind.
A large-scale commercial re-release of these ’80s hits could have been the tune that many of these rights holders needed to hear. As if Journey wasn’t reeling enough from “Glee.”
What we don’t see in the trailer? Anti-major label sentiments. We’ll assume those rock ‘n’ roll dreams are broken elsewhere.