Jeff Labrecque
March 05, 2011 AT 12:30 PM EST

Image Credit: Arnold Turner/Wireimage.comDirector Adam Shankman tweeted the news that he’d cast Julianne Hough as the female lead in his film adaptation of Rock of Ages, and the former Dancing With the Stars champion now says she can’t wait to get started. “Words can’t even express how thrilled I am to be a part of this film,” Hough tells EW, in an exclusive statement. “Between Adam and the cast and the material, it’s just a dream come true. I’m so grateful to Adam and the studio and everyone that believed enough in me to make this amazing opportunity possible. I can’t wait to start work!”

Hough will play Sherrie, the small-town Kansas girl who comes to Hollywood to make it big, and Tom Cruise will play the callous rock star who she falls for. Hough, who left Dancing With the Stars after season 8, made her film debut in last year’s Burlesque and will star in the remake of Footloose in October. She will also receive the Rising Star of 2011 Award at CinemaCon (formerly ShoWest) on March 31.

Read more:

Julianne Hough ready to rock ‘Rock of Ages’

Julianne Hough is hot in Hollywood after leaving ‘DTWS’

Kenny Ortega on exiting ‘Footloose’ remake: ‘It was not planned’

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