Tom Cruise really rocks for W Magazine, to promote his new film Rock of Ages. Cruise talks to Lynn Hirschberg about the film and…poses for top photographer Mario Sorrenti with two hot blonde groupies played by models Edita Vilkeviciute and Abbey Lee Kershaw While everyone else in Rock of Ages is either ridiculous or playing their part with a wink (Alec Baldwin in a wig!), Cruise seems to actually be living in Stacee’s leather pants.

He is alone inside another, much more interesting movie; there is a melancholic undertow to Stacee Jaxx—he’s only truly alive when he’s onstage, and he knows that his time there is nearly over.There are a lot of sexy scenes in this movie: At one point you’re climbing a stripper pole; in another scene, you’re grinding up against a ­Rolling Stone reporter, played by Malin Akerman.

I knew we had to push the sexuality because of the nature of the character and the songs. He’s singing, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Adam has a sweetness with this stuff, so you can push things pretty hard. With Malin, I thought of Susan Sarandon in The Rocky Horror Picture Show—incredibly sexy and very sweet.
It’s hard to get that balance.

When you read a lot of rock biographies, you find that when these musicians are doing their work and it’s going well, that’s when they’re really alive. It’s all the other stuff—the noise and complications—that gets them into devilish behavior.

Stacee is kind of floating until he comes onstage. That’s where he’s at home. Everything else is kind of a mess.
Was your goal to show something intimate?

Yes. It’s a little uncomfortable at times. But funny. Uncomfortable and funny: That was the goal.
By Lynn Hirschberg
Photograph by Mario Sorrenti
Styled by Arianne Phillips