As Rock of Ages hits cinemas nationwide, we caught up with Swedish-Canadian bombshell Malin Akerman and Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti to discuss filming passionate scenes with Tom Cruise, rock 'n' roll and reading reviews of their own movies.
So, Malin, your biggest scene in the movie is the duet/love scene with Tom Cruise - was it at all steamy, or mostly funny filming that sequence?
Malin Akerman: It was more funny. Even when you're doing a really steamy scene, it's never that romantic because you have all these people around you, so it's a little awkward, and it's very technical, especially [the scene in Rock of Ages] because we had to get the moves right. During rehearsal we were cracking up the whole time especially when [Tom] was down on his knees, singing into my butt! (laughs) It's not really sexy...
Paul, you have a very different scene with Tom...
Paul Giamatti: That's right, he pees on my foot... (laughs) That was a different kind of steamy.
Presumably that wasn't actual urine...
Paul Giamatti: (laughs) You should have seen the guys working to perfect this stream of p**s, there was a whole science to it.
You play a pretty monstrous character as the manager of rock star Stacee Jaxx - is there any Paul Giamatti in Paul Gill?
Paul Giamatti: Jesus, man, I hope not! (laughs) Playing guys like that's fun because I get to get my aggression out, I get to be a bastard in the way I'd like to be all the time but don't allow myself to be.
Were you jealous that your character didn't get a song?
Paul Giamatti: No, the character doesn't really give a s**t about anything, he just wants to make money. And he doesn't have a song in him, he's dead inside! (laughs)
What kind of director was Adam Shankman on the Rock of Ages set?
Paul Giamatti: Very fun, and very funny. He had so much other s**t to worry about, and he was very in control of that - if he needed to be there for the acting, he was, but he could also control the huge beast of the production. You know, huge crowds, lights, monkeys... You guys [points to Malin] must have been exhausted all the time, I was just sat on my ass with a cellphone in my scenes! (laughs)
Malin, did you get starstruck around Tom at first?
Malin Akerman: I actually met Tom before started this film, because I was lucky enough to do a movie with his wife, but after moments of meeting him, he really goes out of his way to make sure you feel calm because he completely understands because he's been doing this his whole life. He's such a normal guy once you meet him and get to know him.
But there must be strange moments when you're filming and in a weird position...
Malin Akerman: Yeah, there's certain moments... (laughs) Those moments were actually when we were doing the interview portion and watching him because he's so brilliant, he just transformed into this rock star when they called action. It was amazing to watch at first-hand Tom Cruise doing his work, and you bring yourself to a higher level as a result. I used to run track and field and my coach always used to say 'Practice with someone who's faster than you' and I feel the same about working with really great actors. Your job is kind of done for you - they're so good, you just have to react.
You performed at venues like The Viper Room on Sunset Strip with your own band - did doing this film make you want to get the band back together?
Malin Akerman: It did, I actually just started playing music again with my husband. One band member's in China, and one's in Colorado, so that's difficult, but my husband's still in my house, so... (laughs) I'm not a phenomenal singer but it's just so much fun to create. I don't know what's going to come of it and if we're gonna record anything but we're just doing it for the fun of it.
And are you going to be singing in your next movie, in which you're playing Blondie's Debbie Harry?
Malin Akerman: I don't know if I'm going to be singing or lip-syncing. I'm pushing for the singing, because it's so much fun to have that challenge and I love Debbie Harry. But it's a matter of production - we have five weeks to shoot and it costs a bit to go into studios and record vocals.
Have you met Debbie?
type responder's name here: Not yet, I've met her drummer Clem Burke, who's lovely, and I hope I'll at least get to have a phone conversation with her - the bulk of playing her will be onstage and luckily you can watch YouTube videos and see her stage persona, but it's not a Debbie Harry biopic, it's about CBGBs [club in New York]. I'd be so happy to meet her though, I think she's phenomenal.
And Paul, is is true you're going to be in the new movie by Shame director Steve McQueen?
Paul Giamatti: I am, yes. Every time I hear that I think I'm gonna be in The Great Escape! (laughs) It's about slavery... so that'll be fun! (laughs) I play another nice guy in that too, I play a slave trader, I'm the richest slave trader in America. It's a pretty amazing script though.
You've got Cosmopolis coming out in the UK this week as well - I'm guessing you're more likely to take your son to see Rock of Ages, so do you pick roles on the basis of what he might like?
Paul Giamatti: No, no, no... I don't care about my kid! (laughs) He could see Rock of Ages, he's a sophisticated New York kid, but I don't consciously think of that. I would love him to see Cosmopolis some day, I think he might like that movie.
Do you read reviews of your films?
Malin Akerman: You come across them... There'll be reviews that are sent to me through my agent but it's not a usual thing. In the beginning, if you're hearing from me 'Oh, it's getting great reviews', you might go check it out but a lot of times they can be quite depressing... (laughs)
Does it bother you?
Malin Akerman: A lot of the time I agree with them! (laughs) I look back on certain films and think 'God, if I knew then what I do now...'
Have you ever watched one of your films for the first time and had a sinking feeling?
Paul Giamatti: I've never had that bad an experience. I think if that was going to happen, I knew it was going to happen, you can see it coming on-set.
Is it sometimes the other way around, such as with a film like Sideways?
Paul Giamatti: I do like that movie a lot, but I have problems with myself in it, so that always mitigates it! (laughs) It's totally great, in spite of me.