You often hear of films being described as "having it all." The difference between "Rock of Ages" -- director Adam Shankman's jukebox musical based on the Broadway smash of the same name -- and those films, though, is that "Rock of Ages" truly does.
"Every day was insane and unpredictable, and you never knew what you were going to see on set. I think at one point there were prostitutes, monkeys, strippers and drug dealers, all literally in one scene," Julianne Hough told me, laughing. "It was pretty crazy."
Crazy, yes, and to quote the Poison song heard in a mash-up to kick off the film, "Rock of Ages" was also "nothin' but a good time" for its cast and crew.
Opening in theaters and on IMAX screens Friday, "Rock of Ages" follows small-town girl Sherrie Christian (Hough) and city boy Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) as they pursue their dreams of music stardom while working at the hottest club on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip in 1987.
The film also stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti and Malin Akerman -- and Tom Cruise holds forth as Stacee Jaxx, a hard rock icon struggling to hold himself together in the midst of the madness.
"Rock of Ages" marks the feature film debut of the 21-year-old Boneta, a hit singer in Mexico who to date has appeared in supporting roles on such television series as " 90210" and "Pretty Little Liars." He hadn't seen the Broadway version of "Rock of Ages" prior to being cast in the film, and Shankman preferred it that way to keep the young performer's mind free of any pressures or preconceptions.
"When I finally saw the Broadway show and was able to compare the two, I was very surprised with what Adam and (screenwriter) Justin Theroux did, because it's not an easy musical to adapt into a movie," Bonetta told me in a recent interview.
"Half of the stage play's experience is being in the audience, drinking and getting wasted with your buddies and characters, since actors are breaking the third wall and interacting with audience members," Bonetta added. "You can't really do that when you're filming a movie. So Adam had to make it just as entertaining without having those tools from the show."
The thing that surprised Boneta was just how laugh-out-loud funny the musical was -- a musical told through some of the greatest hard rock hits of the 1980s. But to be clear, Hough adds, the purpose of "Rock of Ages" isn't to laugh at, but to laugh with it.
"It's definitely campy, but without making fun of the '80s," Hough said. "Basically, it makes you remember all the things you love about the '80s in this film."