Everybody wants to be a star at some point in their lives. It’s something we’ve all dreamed about. And we know a couple young adults who didn’t give up. We’re not only referring to the characters Sherrie and Drew in Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages, but the actors who play them, Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta. It’s tough to make it in the entertainment industry, but if your heart’s in the right place, there’s a good chance you’ll succeed. ScreenCrave recently spoke to the duo about their stint at rock college, creating their chemistry and what it’s like to finally make it in show business.
Everyone always wonders how two actors can play such a convincing couple. It doesn’t have to do with how great they look together physically, as much as it does their overall chemistry. So how did Julianne and Diego bond before filming Rock of Ages? By going to rock college, of course.
Julianne Hough: We were the kids on set. We were there from the beginning to the very end of the shoot. We got to know each other for six weeks prior because we were doing our little rock college thing. We were doing vocal lessons, dance, recording and guitar lessons for him. We had that bond before we even started shooting. But the first week of shooting we had to shoot the Hollywood scene break-up so that was kind of interesting. We hadn’t really acted together and we broke up!
Diego Boneta: I feel like we really bonded even before shooting, like Julianne said, because we were both on the same page. Julianne is an amazing, talented actress and we wanted to bring our A-game to this. We wanted to really deliver and we were both learning as much as we could, rehearsing, prepping and she became my sister throughout that whole process.
Julianne Hough: A sister he makes out with. [laughs]
Julianne and Diego are the new kids on the movie block and were surrounded by some great actors on set. Although they tried to maintain their composure, it was hard not to get giddy in the presence of veterans.
Diego Boneta: At first, I was nervous. I was a bit intimidated because these guys are the biggest movie stars right now. It’s my first movie and I was kind of nervous. But then when we met them, and seeing how passionate they were on set and how they were also prepping and how excited they were — from being intimidated it went to being motivated. Seeing Tom (Cruise) on set, he was treating this movie like it was his first and last movie. He was so excited and was full of energy. He’s a movie star, he’s a rock star, there’s nothing that man can’t do.
Where Julianne has been exposed to the movie industry before, Diego’s a first-timer. He’s not nervous about being in the spotlight and is anxious to stay in it for as long as he can.
Diego Boneta: I feel very lucky and very humbled to be in this movie and to be in this position. I’m taking it one day at a time and really trying to enjoy every single moment. This is all new to me and I’m very proud of what we did. Working with Julianne, working with this amazing cast and learning what I’ve learned. Being able to share this with the world. So we’ll see, hopefully. I’m very excited.
I was born and raised in Mexico City. My mom was born in Detroit so I don’t remember learning how to learn English. It was both at the same time, but I’m very proud of being Latin and I’m very proud of being able to represent my people playing a character that’s not Latin when it’s really the first time that a Latin actor does that. I want to be able to play the roles that I can play. I’d love to play Asian but that’ll be a little tough. But the same way that Australian actors and British actors play different roles and different ethnicities. And even American actors have played Latin characters at times. I want to be able to play whatever I can play. If it means taking dialect classes the same way I did it for this part, to get rid of the Latin accent, I’ll do it to be able to speak with a British accent or an Australian accent or whatever it is.
At the same time, a movie is nothing without its director. With Adam Shankman, he made sure he got the best performances out of all his actors. He’s dedicated to his craft. Plus, from what Julianne says, he’s a goofball.
Julianne Hough: He is like crazy insane fun. Just seeing him in the hallway, he is just a burst of red with a shirt just running down the hallway. [laughs] He looks like a bird when he walks and I love it. He’s so happy though and he really loves what he does. That just translates to his work and just to us. Everybody has to be around him every single day and to have that kind of energy is pretty great.
Diego Boneta: There was a very fancy production office and Adam had a very fancy office. I don’t think he was there once. His office was at the choreography warehouse with no air conditioning with this plastic white table, a plastic chair and [he] was there every single day. That’s where we worked from with Mia (Michaels), the choreographer, and that’s how involved he was. He was, I mean every detail, he was in the trenches working just as much as anyone else was. When you have someone like that directing, you can see that on screen.
They may not have seen the original Rock of Ages play, but they wanted to check it out as soon as filming wrapped.
Julianne Hough: I was the most annoying person in the theater… [to] my friends that were with me. I was like ‘Oh we changed this part’ and ‘Oh that character isn’t even in it.’ They’re like Julianne, shut up! [laughs]
Diego Boneta: Adam (Shankman) did not want me to see it before because there was going to be changes from the movie to the musical and didn’t want me to be influenced by them. But the first thing I did when we wrapped was, I flew up to New York and I watched the play. I was very impressed by what they did with adapting the play to the movie because it’s not an easy musical to adapt. You have people drinking in the audience and actors breaking the fourth wall. How do you make that fun on screen? And Justin Theroux who wrote this really did an amazing job with it. When I watched it I was laughing the entire time. It’s for sure the funniest musical I have ever seen and Adam did an amazing job.
Rock of Ages is out in theaters everywhere June 15.