She sang her heart out as the murderous Velma Kelly in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Chicago” for which she received an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress.
Now, Catherine Zeta-Jones is back in another film version of a stage musical, New Line Cinema's “Rock of Ages” where she plays the mayor's wife, Patricia Whitmore, who leads a brigade of women bent on ridding the streets of all things rock ‘n’ roll.
Zeta-Jones says she leapt at the chance to sing and dance again after her Oscar-winning turn in “Chicago.” “When [director] Adam Shankman called me, I said yes without even looking at the script. I knew it would be a blast and I had to be a part of it,” she recalls. “And then I read the script and thought, ‘Wow, what a fun character.’”
“Patricia is a strong woman, so we needed an actress with a lot of presence,” notes Shankman. “Casting Catherine was a dream for me that basically came true.”
“Rock of Ages” tells the story of small town girl Sherrie (Julianne Hough) and city boy Drew (Diego Boneta), who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock ‘n’ roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake, and more.
The Patricia Whitmore character does not appear in the original Broadway musical. “We created the role of the mayor’s wife in order to revisit the cultural censorship that was going on in that period,” Shankman says.
“I think Patricia is the kind of woman who sees her role as first lady of Los Angeles as being much more important than her husband’s role as mayor, and there’s no question as to who wears the pants in the family,” Zeta-Jones suggests. “She’s an outspoken activist who feels rock ‘n’ roll is satanic music, and she creates a campaign to clean up what she believes is the real filth sullying her city’s streets: rock music.”
Patricia’s wardrobe is a marked difference from the rest of the cast—pastel suits with subdued, carefully coordinated accessories. “She’s a right-wing conservative who obviously has underlying secrets and a few skeletons in the closet,” Zeta-Jones says with a smile. “I thought I could have so much fun with her, and I have. And that’s exactly what each and every one of the other actors is having as well. The whole experience is so much fun.”
“Rock of Ages” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.