Confirming the early rumors surrounding her casting, R&B/soul singer Mary J. Blige has officially signed on to play strip club owner Justice in the upcoming movie adaptation of Rock of Ages, according to Hollywood411.com. As Justice, a role originated and still played on Broadway by Michele Mais, Blige will wail ‘80s classics like Poison’s "Every Rose Has its Thorn” and “Harden My Heart” by Quarterflash.
Though many Hollywood heavyweights are circling the project, Blige is one of the first celebs to ink a deal. Tom Cruise is reportedly interested in playing decadent rock star Stacee Jaxx, country sweetheart Taylor Swift has been in talks to play leading lady Sherrie, and comedian Russell Brand may play Lonny, the show’s narrator who runs rock venue The Bourbon and wails REO Speedwagon’s "Can’t Fight This Feeling" with club owner Dennis Dupree, a role being eyed by 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin. Oscar co-host Anne Hathaway is the latest in the starry lineup, and is considering playing an uptight journalist hell-bent on writing a Stacee Jaxx expose.
Blige, who has won eight Grammy Awards and sold more than 15 million albums, appeared on film in I Can Do Bad All By Myself and will star as Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic about the iconic singer. Her TV guest appearances include Strong Medicine, Ghost Whisperer and playing herself on Entourage.
Rock of Ages is set in 1987 on the Sunset Strip, where a small town girl meets a big city rocker in L.A.’s most famous rock club. Their love story is told through the hits of Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, Twisted Sister, Asia, Whitesnake and many more. The musical, which is currently on hiatus until March 24, when it transfers to the Helen Hayes Theatre, received five Tony nominations (including Best Musical) after opening on April 7, 2009.
As previously reported, Adam Shankman, who helmed the movie version of Broadway musical Hairspray, will direct, while a script by librettist Chris D’Arienzo has reportedly gotten a rewrite from Michael Arndt, who wrote Little Miss Sunshine. The movie is expected to begin filming in May 2011 and to be released in 2012.