Why is Tom Cruise's face obscured on the ads for Rock of Ages, instead of his image and name being front and center? I saw a commercial for the movie and he was barely in it. What gives?
—Beryl, Ypsilanti, via the inbox
Yep, that's Tom Cruise's face hovering somewhere under that Bret Michaels getup on the posters for the upcoming movie musical. And, yes, Cruise plays the biggest star in the story, but don't let that fact fool you:
This is an ensemble musical, meaning that no one person is supposed to truly be the star. Think of Dreamgirls, which made an Oscar winner out of Jennifer Hudson and a bona fide movie star out of Beyoncé and a comeback candidate out of Eddie Murphy, but did not, really, star any single person, and which didn't highlight a particular actor in the advertising.
Chicago, meanwhile, really starred two people, Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones (who also has a part in this new spectacle).
Rock of Ages is slightly similar to Chicago, in that the story is supposed to revolve not around a single person, such as Cruise, but a pair of folks, in this case a young couple played by Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta. The other characters have their moments, of course, but that's about it. If there is any star in this movie, it's the hair-band era of the 1980s.
As for why Cruise's face or name aren't being used much at all, I reached out to a few people who would know, including Tyler Barnett, whose PR outfit helped consult on some of the posters for the National Lampoon films.
"Tom Cruise's face could be obscured for several reasons," he muses to this B!tch. "Perhaps his character is a bit mysterious and they want to make a point of that. Perhaps they want viewers to really examine the poster and ask these types of questions. Most likely though, they want to promote the fact that this is an ensemble cast without a single star."
Like I said.
And the general layout of the ads proves my point.
"The layout was clearly chosen to highlight the fact that the film has a bevy of superstar talent," Barnett observes. "The fact that there isn't a single star highlighted over another is a very deliberate choice that almost says, ‘We have so many stars in this movie there isn't even room on the poster to highlight one.'
"It is also possible that some of the bigger names only have cameo appearances, so naming them as the stars would be misleading."
Would you really be surprise if Cruise wasn't on camera for that long? Most rock stars like Stacee Jaxx aren't exactly easy to access, right?