Malin Akerman is the picture of pleased with herself on this June afternoon in Hollywood, and she should be. Movie Fanatic is meeting with her along the famed Sunset Strip that sits at the heart of her latest film, Rock of Ages. Akerman portrays a journalist from Rolling Stone charged with interviewing the biggest rock star in the world, Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise).
She has long dreamed of working with the actor, and the experience did not disappoint. Akerman probably spent more screen time with Cruise than any other cast member and she was struck with how he was not only in the moment every second of filming, but also how natural being simply silly came to him. “I didn't really know what to expect in that sense working with him. I've met him a few times before and he's so lovely and charming and all of the above, but acting with someone can be very different,” Akerman said. “He is really intense and has all these amazing action flicks and I was amazed at his sense of humor and how far he wanted to go with it. That's why he is who he is. That's why he's had such a long career... because he's game for anything.”
Having him sing to her rear end was a bit of a surprise, but like Cruise, Akerman was game for anything. “I love physical comedy,” she admitted. She was surprised at how willing Cruise was to assume the position and begin belting out a song.
“I just kept looking at Tom and I'm like, 'Are you cool with this? Cause I'm cool with this!’ And he's like, ‘Yeah, this is hilarious.’ I think something that we find funny, I think it’s a sign that the audience is gonna love it too. That's how we gauge it. I thought that was really clever the singing in the butt. It was great, it made me laugh anyway.”
She found Cruise a delight, but also Mickey the baboon who portrays his sidekick, known as Hey Man. We asked her to share a special moment from working with the monkey and Akerman gave us a doozy. “I have a great monkey story! At the end of the film I have this moment with the monkey and I'm pregnant and we're watching Tom perform. At first we were gonna have the monkey on my back and apparently the monkey doesn't really go on people's backs,” Akerman said. They had to find a way to get Mickey to allow the actress to hold him in the front.
“So the trainer said, ‘Why don't we go into this room and train a little bit and get him to get comfortable with you.' Guess where the monkey’s hands land? Right in my boobs! So not only did I get felt up by Stacie Jaxx, but also by his monkey. It was an awesome moment.”
The Rock of Ages musical was a smash on Broadway and celebrated an age when hair metal ruled the airwaves. Of that era, her go-to bands were unfortunately not featured on the Rock of Ages soundtrack. “My favorite bands growing up were Metallica, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. My first rock concert was Bon Jovi,” Akerman said. Being such a fan of the era, she was among the first to see it on stage. “I watched the Broadway show twice before I even knew the movie was gonna be made into a movie! I'm just a big fan of music and comedy put together. It was the perfect mix… honestly, this was my jam. I loved it.”
Akerman has just signed to play Debbie Harry in CBGB, so Rock of Ages was a nice place to first flex her singing muscles, although she did have hesitation. "I was extremely nervous. That was the most nerve-racking part of this whole process,” she said. “It's intimidating to go into a studio with these producers who've produced really great artists and you kind of feel embarrassed. You can't hit the note and the sound is off. It can be stressful.”
She tells Movie Fanatic that she is not new to singing. “I did have a band in 2002! I was helping these Italian guys write lyrics in English. They just went, ‘Why don't you become the singer of the band?’ I wasn't getting any acting jobs so I thought, ‘Who doesn't want to be a rock star?’ Kind of like the theme of this film,” Akerman said.