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Tom Cruise Rocks his Role in 1980s-Set 'Rock of Ages'

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Published on Jun 17, 2012

It was only supposed to be a script read-through in the early days of production last summer on the Miami set of Rock of Ages.

But as the cast gathered at the reading table in their street clothes, their world was suddenly rocked by the arrival of their leading man.

Tom Cruise sauntered in, fully decked out as his '80s rock-god character Stacee Jaxx, in beaver-felt cowboy hat and leather pants, and showing ample tattoos and a bare chest.

"I think my head dropped into my lap," recalls director Adam Shankman. "It was phenomenal."

"I was kind of in shock," adds co-star Malin Akerman. "He sat down beside me, and I said, 'Hi, Tom. Or is it Stacee? I don't know what to call you right now.' "

"You think of Tom as the guy from Mission: Impossible and Top Gun," Akerman says. "But this is going to be a whole new world for his audience."

Consider that a warning. For all the out-there excess of the rock musical Rock of Ages-- which completes its transition from hit Broadway musical to Hollywood film when it opens today -- nothing is as astonishing as the transformation of ageless Boy Scout Cruise into his Jaxx persona.

The middle-age mega-star (his half-century birthday is July 3) lit up the Internet when the first images from the movie were released this spring, showing a serious dedication to leather and even more serious abs. But Rock of Ages also makes one thing clear as soon as Cruise breaks into Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar on Me onstage: The dude can perform.

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