I did this set visit back in July, but when I spoke with producer Tom McNulty on the set, he ended up revealing something that Fox wanted kept under wraps, so after the visit, the studio embargoed me from revealing the news he gave me until August 31. So here it is -- drumroll please. This film, which has been described over and over as a 'Pete Best story,' actually has former Beatle Pete Best! He's in the movie! Tom also revealed that 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski has joined the film's cast. He also announced that a quasi-sequel to The Rocker, based on the film's fictional hair band Vesuvius, is moving forward with Will Arnett attached. A writer is currently being hired and Rainn Wilson will presumably take part. Interviewing Tom was a lot of fun -- the guy was a ball of fire, ready to talk about anything, and even though he talked a million miles a minute, he still gave us a half-hour interview that covers a lot. I've cut the whole thing down a bit, but you still get the big picture.
What kind of rock n' roll are you celebrating with this movie? What's the vibe?
TM: The vibe is big, full-on heavy metal kind of rock. Not so much glam rock. I mean, the guys are definitely, you know, Aerosmith, but there is definitely some Whitesnake, Poison, Ratt, Pantera, Winger, Cinderella ...what other bands do we reference. The band he's kicked out of, Vesuvius, when we began to kind of figure it out and write the songs for it, we did a lot of research watching Heavy Metal Parking Lot and you don't really have to do characters for those guys, because they pretty much ... there was a documentary and they talked about how these lead singers ... 98 percent of the audience were heterosexual dudes and these guys are wearing tight spandex pants and thrusting their crotch into a male audience. So it's this weird celebration of, like, male masculinity, but the guys are full-on lipstick, blush, rouge, women's wigs basically. Look at Motley Crue, for God's sakes, or Van Halen or Poison. It was all dudes and no one ever thought about the idea of, like, this is very into homosexuality. Glam rock was one step away from that.
So looking at it at the time, in context, it didn't really seem weird, but when you step back and look at it objectively, it's like 'Holy shit, this was really a bizarre time in American music, you know? It was about theatricality. I think that -- this is just one man's opinion -- the advent of MTV and literally, suddenly, your image and what you look like and actually making a video became an important part of being a successful band is probably why it went from 0 to 60 overnight. Those guys were just ridiculous. It became about showmanship, and 'can you top this?' and, you know, in terms of the hair and lip-stick. Tommy Lee resembles nothing of what he looked like. Look at Nikki Sixx and those guys -- that Girls, Girls, Girls tour was ridiculous. So that's the basis of the band he was kicked out of. In the movie, the band has become as big as, say, Aerosmith, in terms of the world domination that they have. The idea is Aerosmith or The Stones, a band like that. They don't have the integrity that those bands have, but they definitely have the kind of vibe and popularity.