Arguably the most anticipated role in the upcoming Rock of Ages movie — more than Catherine Zeta-Jones‘ dancing or Diego Boneta puppy-dog eyes and soulful guitar playing — is Tom Cruise as the long-haired, shirtless, leather-pants-wearing rock star Stacee Jaxx. It’s like when John Travolta was announced to play Edna Turnblad in Hairspray back in 2007… except that Stacee’s meant to be sexy.
Honestly, I’m kind of split on how well Cruise carries out the necessary charisma and power. Obviously the casting was genius, simultaneously drawing on Cruise’s pre-Oprah couch sexiness and charm, as well as his recent willingness to spoof Hollywood and himself. It started with him playing an overweight, breakdancing movie executive in Tropic Thunder, and now he’s embodied a (fictional) rock legend.
And when the first trailer came out, Cruise-as-Stacee did look alluring and mysterious in that final, shadowed shot we glimpsed of him. But now that he’s front and center in the new trailer… Maybe we’re seeing way too much of him shirtless in these two and a half minutes, or maybe it’s because they’re also trying to show us Stacee’s actual troubled conscience, but I just don’t find him uber-sexy. Everything is just a bit over-the-top: The hair, the jewelry and accessories, the sinewy body. In the trailer at least, I can’t forget that I’m watching Tom Cruise.
However, just because Julianne Hough‘s character wants to sleep with him and I don’t, doesn’t mean that he won’t give a fantastic performance as the aging rocker getting eclipsed by a hot young act. Because that diminishing relevance is what exists in his real life, ready to be drawn upon for a truly tortured performance.