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Warner Bros and New Line brought back the 1980s to Hollywood, throwing a rare Friday night premiere for Rock of Ages that saw Me Decade icons Poison and Def Leppard hit a stage at the after-party.
Tom Cruise steals the movie and stole a lot of the attention on the Boulevard, but one scene that may get tongues wagging, especially in the current climate where gays rights are being fought over by lawmakers, involves Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand (it’s in the stage musical, so it’s not a spoiler), whose characters reveal their love to each other via the REO Speedwagon song “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” capped with a passionate kiss.
At the after-party, in between the rock acts, Baldwin played down the significance of the kiss sequence, describing it as done for comedy and surprise.
“It’s not like Brokeback Mountain, it’s not two leading men who you are used to getting down with some gorgeous young girl,” he said. “It’s a little more chaste because I’m older (than Brand).”
But he admitted there is a subtext in the scenes that wasn’t there when he filmed them because of current socio-political events.
“We live in an age, and I’m being imprecise here, where half the country gets it, and the other half doesn’t,” he said. “I live where men and women who want to get married—who gives a shit? No one gives it a thought. It’s like seeing women in power. Or like seeing African American CEOs. We’re in a fully realized age of equality in all things and it’s not surprising or new. But there is that other half for whom that is surprising and new.”
He added that he has spent a lot of time in Europe, which seems more relaxed about gay issues. “America is still a place where people are fighting these culture wars.”
For director Adam Shankman, the movie is ultimately about couples finding love, not a statement about gay marraige. Baldwin and Brand are just one of the couples.
“The truth is, when we were making it, that wasn’t what was in our heads,” Shankman said. “But it’s being legitimized by what is happening now. It makes it more relevant and underlines it.”
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