Q&A: Julianne Hough of 'Rock of Ages'

Sure, it’s wonderful that Julianne Hough is starring in a big-budget Hollywood musical. And while the inquiring minds sitting around her want to know all about that, they are equally, if not more curious about the status of her relationship with Ryan Seacrest.

Are Hough and the “American Idol” host getting married?

“Oh, goodness,” she said. “Eventually in my life [I will get married]. I was born to be married and have kids!”

End of that story—for now—but the “Rock of Ages” star couldn’t stop talking about her love for the 1980s, her new friendship with co-star Mary J. Blige and her thoughts on Tom Cruise as a major rock ’n’ roll god in the film opening Friday.

“He really is,” Hough said with a wide smile. “I would have loved to have seen him actually in the ’80s as Stacee Jaxx because I think he would have been the most sought-after rock star ... had he been there.”

Hough, who was born in 1988—one year after the film is set—plays Sherrie, a Midwestern girl who has come to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune. On her first night in town, she’s robbed outside the legendary Bourbon Room, where she encounters Drew (Diego Boneta), another wide-eyed wannabe transplant who works in the club and talks his boss (Alec Baldwin) into hiring her. Romance ensues. They don’t make beautiful music together, however, until the end of the film.

Like Sherrie, Hough’s rise to Hollywood fame has been fairly unconventional.

“I had $2,000 in my pocket when I came to L.A.,” she said. “But I told my dad I had $5,000 so I could move out here. My rent was $800 a month.”

Fortunately, Hough booked just about every one of her auditions. “Whether it was booking a commercial or something in choreography, I just knew I’d have to get it or else go home,” she said. “I worked really hard.”

Since those formative days of being the new girl from Salt Lake City, Hough still works hard but struggles less. She’s a two-time pro champion on “Dancing with the Stars” and has made some noise in the musicals “Footloose” and “Burlesque.”

“There have been a lot of moments,” Hough said. “I think just being a part of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ family and then coming back on it as a singer and an actress, that was the moment when I went, ‘Holy cow!’ I’m not just part of a reality show, I’m a part of Hollywood.”

Next up is a role as a Christian evangelist in Diablo Cody’s still unnamed directorial debut. And guess what? She doesn’t dance!

“I’m excited, but when I don’t dance I feel as if there’s something missing because I’m such a physical person who loves to express myself through dance,” Hough said. “But I love to act, I love to sing, I love to entertain.”

She gets to do it all, along with some sexy pole dancing in “Rock of Ages,” which boasts several rock classics from the 1980s on its soundtrack: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “I Want Know What Love Is,” “Harden My Heart,” “I Wanna Rock,” “Paradise City,” “I Love Rock n’ Roll,” “We’re Not Going to Take It,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “We Built This City,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” Some of the musicians who wrote and/or recorded these songs were on set during filming.

“It was very cool,” Hough said. “I think the music is so incredible and the melodies from the ’80s are what really made the songs so iconic and classic. I wish there would be more melodies like that today.”

Also cool was getting to know Blige, who plays the owner of the strip club Sherrie works in after dumping Drew and quitting her gig at the Bourbon.

“I was so stressed to work with Tom Cruise, but there’s also this overwhelming nervousness that I had when I would sing with Mary J.,” Hough said. “I don’t think there’s been anyone as influential on R&B music as Mary J. has been. I think the coolest part about working with her is that we were on set for hours in a strip club—right? (laughs)—and during our down time we just bonded. We’re really close.

“She calls and leaves me messages out of the blue all the time telling me how amazing I am. I’m like, ‘Whoa, you’re the amazing one!’”

Miki Turner is a redeye special contributor.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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