Constantine Maroulis, whose career launched when he became a finalist on the fourth season of "American Idol," originated the role of hopeful young rocker Drew in the 2008 Off-Broadway production of Rock of Ages and earned a Best Actor in a Musical Tony nomination for the 2009 Broadway transfer. Producers also negotiated to have the star headline the current national tour of the musical. Critics have praised his work.
The 35-year-old rock tenor, who rarely missed a performance of the vocally demanding musical, seemed primed to take on the role for the upcoming film of the hit property, but Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema may have other thoughts. A recent casting announcement states that producers are seeking a newcomer — an actor who can play 18-25 — for the role of Drew Boley.
According to the breakdown: "In his early 20s, super handsome leading-man looks and a nice guy, despite the tough-guy duds, Drew is an aspiring rocker, a talented singer/guitarist who’s already working with a band. Immediately smitten by the lovely and naive, yet talented, Sherrie, he’s currently working behind the scenes at the legendary Bourbon Room, stoked when he finally gets a chance to open for a major star. Later, a mortified Drew is signed by a manager who insists on turning him into the next homogenized teeny bopper."
Maroulis told the Hollywood Reporter, "Obviously, I feel like this is my part and I've done all the work and I feel like I've done a lot to bring the show to this sort of level of success. I'm not 21, but I'm an actor, and I think there's actors in every movie that are playing different ages and different times and different things all the time, and it's really about the believability of the performance. So come and see me in the show, read the reviews, read everything, and tell me that this isn't a part that I was born to play and there you have it."
It's a rare case when Broadway musical actors are given the opportunity to recreate on film the roles they originated on stage. Barbra Streisand recaptured Funny Girl on screen, Robert Preston delivered The Music Man to cinemas and much of the original cast of 1776 preserved their performances on film. But other hit musicals, including Gypsy, Hello Dolly!, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Evita and Dreamgirls, all of which had singular stars on stage, ultimately arrived on film without their original leading actors.
As previously reported, Adam Shankman, who directed and choreographed the film adaptation of Hairspray, will direct Rock of Ages' big screen premiere. Filming will begin in May.
The Rock of Ages film includes Academy Award nominee Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, Mary J. Blige as Justice, Emmy Award winner Alec Baldwin as Dennis and Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian.
The musical's book writer Chris D'Arienzo has penned the screenplay for the film that will be produced by the Rock of Ages Broadway producers Carl Levin, Matthew Weaver and Scott Prisand, with Tobey Maguire and Jennifer Gibgot. Executive producers are Janet Billig and Hillary Weaver.
Following a hiatus, Rock of Ages resumes Broadway performances March 24 at a new venue, the Helen Hayes Theatre.
View highlights from the show: