Fuse recently sat down with hard rock legends Def Leppard to talk about their experience with the movie adaptation of the Broadway smash Rock of Ages, an in-theaters-now flick that prominently features Tom Cruise singing "Pour Some Sugar On Me." According to the Sheffield, England rockers, they just happened to drop by the movie set at the exact time Cruise was performing their 1987 hit for the film.
"We walk in and Tom Cruise is tatted up with long hair—in character—and he starts singing 'Pour Some Sugar On Me.' The coincidence was beyond belief," Joe Elliott tells us. "Obviously being a film, they shoot multiple takes from different angles. We were in the pit for an hour or 90 minutes watching him do it maybe six, seven times. Between takes he would jump down and we would interact and talk. He'd be like, 'Am I doing it right? Are you okay with this?' And I'm like, 'Dude, more than okay.' This is the guy from Mission: Impossible!"
Although Elliott says Cruise nailed the vocals, he doesn't think the megastar looked to Def Leppard for stage presence inspiration. "He'd obviously been studying videos from, I'd say, Axl and Iggy. Maybe Scott Weiland. He had that lizard snake walk thing going on, which is not my cup of tea."
Those only familiar with the film version of Rock of Ages might be surprised to learn that Def Leppard resisted giving their songs to the musical for years. Elliott explains why they eventually caved.
"About eight years ago the producers came to us and said, 'We want to use some of your songs' and they gave us the premise of what [Rock of Ages] was all about. We said, 'Oh no! Don't think so.' But lo and behold, this particular stage play went through the roof," Elliott says. "It got to the point where David Coverdale [Whitesnake's frontman] did a narration at the beginning of the play and they mention, 'A big-boo hiss to Def Leppard for not giving us their songs.' Which is very comical, vaudeville, almost English humor, which we actually thought was very funny.
"So cut to last year: They approached us again saying, 'We're turning this into a movie now, and oh, by the way, we're looking at Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, etc. Will you rethink your decision? So we discussed it and said, 'Alright, go on then.'"
For Leppard's full take on the Rock of Ages film, watch the video above. And to hear the rockers' crazy tour stories—including the tale of a Polish witch with a white rat in her hand casting a hex on the band—check out the video below. Also in the clip at the bottom: Elliott talks about his fan moment in 1983 when he caught Queen's guitarist riffing on "Photograph" while warming up. "I was thinking, Christ, 10 years ago I was in school buying Sheer Heart Attack, and now he's up on stage playing one of our riffs," Elliott fondly recalls. "It was like god, this is amazing."