After 30 years in showbiz, Alec Baldwin has had plenty of onscreen alter egos: mobster, brain surgeon, ghost, CIA agent, Charles Nelson Reilly… But it’s safe to say we’ve never seen the Emmy winner looking like he does in Rock of Ages (out June 15), the musical based on the hit Broadway show about the ’80s metal scene on the Sunset Strip.
Baldwin sports feathery shoulder-length locks and glam rock-inspired outfits to play Dennis Dupree, the owner of a club where Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), the world’s biggest rock star, puts on a one-night-only show. The actor’s 30 Rock comedy chops come in handy for the role, which requires him to canoodle with Russell Brand and croon REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” But getting laughs required serious dedication according to director Adam Shankman and lead hair stylist Camille Friend, who chatted with EW in this week’s issue about creating Baldwin’s character — from the hair down.
“With Alec, there are no shades of gray. The first time he put the wig on, he said, ‘I like it.’ So that was that,” says Friend, who created a custom wig based on a photo that Baldwin gave her of actor-singer Kris Kristofferson. The actor earned the nickname Hurricane Baldwin for his occasionally blustery behavior on set, but Shankman says Baldwin had a change of heart after seeing early footage of Tom Cruise in the film. “Alec turned to me and said, ‘I thought I knew a lot about acting, but I know nothing about acting now that I’m looking at him.'”
To read more about how Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Julianne Hough, and Malin Akerman got into character for Rock of Ages, check out EW’s June 15 issue, on stands now.