'Hairspray' Director Set For '80s Rock Musical 'Rock of Ages'

Choreographer-turned-filmmaker Adam Shankman has fortunately found another musical to direct following his success with the "Hairspray" remake. Variety reports that he's set to helm the movie version of Broadway's "Rock of Ages," which incorporates popular '80s rock anthems, such as Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna take It," into a Sunset Strip-set love story about an aspiring musician and a girl who's just off the bus.

Shankman, who also made the hilarious online short "Prop 8: The Musical" and will be doing a "Hairspray" sequel, feels he knows the material well enough from having worked on an Extreme video back in the early '90s and from growing up with a dad in the music biz. He also was a choreographer on "Boogie Nights," which means he probably has experience setting a scene to Night Ranger's "Sister Christian," one of the songs appropriated for one of the numbers in "Rock of Ages."

The director has high hopes for the appeal of this musical and even calls it "'Mamma Mia!' for dudes." Claiming that he's spotted a lot of men in the show's audience singing along to the tunes, Shankman says, "What an extraordinary opportunity to open the genre to an audience that otherwise wouldn’t go see a musical."

Still, it's pretty tough getting guys to see a musical movie, so we'll see how that works out.

Another interesting challenge will be squeezing a new song into the film in order to qualify for Oscar consideration. With "Hairspray" and many other Broadway adaptations these days, fresh tunes are added, typically so one of these will earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song ("Hairspray" didn't end up with a nod thanks to the category hogging by Disney's "Enchanted"). But how could one add an extra number to a musical made up solely of hits from the past?

Whatever you may think of musicals, particularly nostalgia-baiting "jukebox musicals" like "Rock of Ages," you must agree that Shankman is better off directing Broadway adaptations than anything else. His non-musical work includes such disposable comedies as "The Pacifier," "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" and last year's "Bedtime Stories."

It's hard to believe a big screen "Rock of Ages" won't be cheesy in its own right, but thanks to some familiar music it's also sure to be, in the words of Poison, "nothin' but a good time."

Any guys out there normally averse to musicals who are interested in "Rock of Ages"? Are you glad Adam Shankman is working on more musicals instead of high-concept comedies?


VMAs 2018