At the core of New Line Cinema's epic musical “Rock of Ages” is a boy-meets-girl love story woven into classic, only-in-Hollywood dreams of fame. To play the young lovers Sherrie and Drew, the filmmakers chose two of today's most promising stars, Julianne Hough (“Footloose,” “Burlesque”) and Diego Boneta (TV's “Pretty Little Liars”).
The opening scene of the film follows a beautiful, if somewhat naïve, girl named Sherrie Christian, who has just hopped a bus from her small Midwestern hometown in pursuit of her Hollywood dream to be a singer. When she takes her first steps on the Sunset Strip, she thinks she’s found paradise.
Hough was cast as the wide-eyed Sherrie, who lands at the epicenter of the rock ‘n’ roll scene. “She just wants to make something of herself, even if she’s not going to be the biggest rock star in the world. She wants to be around it, the excitement and the energy of a city like that. It makes her feel alive.”
Prior to casting Hough in “Rock of Ages,” director Adam Shankman had an opportunity to direct her in a music video for her latest album. “Julianne blew my mind,” he says. “She has an extraordinary rapport with the camera; her beauty and talent is right there in a really big way.”
Arriving in town with hopes high, Sherrie immediately experiences a bit of a rude awakening. The disappointment doesn’t last long, though, as she’s rescued by a handsome young man, Drew Boley, who offers her what she needs more than anything in the world: a job.
Boneta won the role of Drew after a nationwide search. “Drew is a barback at The Bourbon Room, a legendary club like the Whiskey, where all the bands play,” says Boneta. “He’s a rock star in his heart, and he’s a good, honest, romantic guy.”
“We saw thousands of people for Drew,” Shankman relates. “Diego’s audition tape came across my casting website, and after I watched it, I just had that feeling. I called [producer] Jennifer Gibgot and said, ‘I think I found the guy. I’m looking at him right now.’”
Gibgot recounts, “We brought Diego in, and the moment he walked through the door, Adam and I just looked at each other and said, ‘That’s Drew.’”
Being hardworking young performers on the rise themselves, it wasn’t difficult for either Hough or Boneta to understand the hopes and dreams of their characters.
“Sherrie and Drew are both in L.A. for the same reasons, they have essentially the same goal in mind, so they click, they really connect,” Boneta attests. “At first, they help each other out at work, but there’s a definite attraction; things between them just grow from there.”
Hough agrees. “Drew and Sherrie are the couple that you root for,” she says. “They’re young and learning about life and being in a relationship, and excited for the future. It all seems perfect until they have…a big misunderstanding.”
“Rock of Ages” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.