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Mexican native Diego Boneta is new to the Hollywood scene, but the young heartthrob is no newbie to the entertainment world, having already hit big in Latin America as a singer and soap opera actor. He makes his feature film debut in Adam Shankman’s movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages, in theaters today. At the core of the film is a boy-meets-girl love story backed by incredible songs and set on the iconic Sunset Strip.
I had the chance to chat with Boneta recently about this breakout role, his most memorable moment with Tom Cruise, and where he sees himself in five years.
The interview started with Boneta singing a few tunes.
Movies.com: Are you always singing?
Diego Boneta: I’m always singing. I started out singing. It’s kind of bad sometimes. When I started singing I didn’t have an amazing voice, I just liked performing. Growing up I listed to a lot of my parent’s favorite bands, from U2, The Police and Queen.
Movies.com: My Twitter account went crazy when I said I was interviewing you. @DiegoBonetaFans want to know about your first encounter with Julianne Hough.
Boneta: I was amazed at her beauty. She’s a beautiful girl and then when I was reading with her I felt just a great chemistry between us. She’s very warm. It’s so easy to work together. We had to record a song, it’s actually in the movie and it was part of the audition, More than Words in Heaven, we didn’t record it at the same time but we took vocal lessons together. We went through this rock star college, we were both paired and it was great.
Movies.com: Rock star college sounds pretty fun. Was it just a reminder of how great the ‘80s were for music?
Boneta: The ‘80s rocked. It had the best music, amazing melodies, great songs and crazy bikinis. Just stay away from the boy band look.
Rock star college lasted for six weeks prior to shooting. We trained with Ron Anderson, who trained a lot of big rock stars from Axl Rose to Chris Cornell. I had to learn how to develop that raspiness and how to sing with that rocker voice without hurting my vocal cords. Not only is singing these songs hard but it was also about finding my voice. We wanted our characters to sing the song.
Movies.com: Rock of Ages is your first feature film and you get to co-star with big names, including Tom Cruise. Do you have a favorite moment with Cruise?
Boneta: Tom doesn’t make you feel like…you’re with Tom Cruise. We both had to learn guitar for the movie with the same coach, and Tom says one day, “Diego, we should take classes together and have a jamming session.” I was like, “Sure man, of course.” I thought it was never going to happen. Later that day I get a call and it’s Tom. He says, “Come on up, let’s have a jamming session.” I get there and we start jamming along to Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Tom starts playing and singing, and then…I had that moment where I realized, I am jamming with Tom Cruise and he’s playing the guitar and holy crap he’s singing! It was fun.
Movies.com: With your career in Hollywood about to take off, where do you see yourself in five years?
Boneta: That’s a tough question. Well, I can tell you what’s happening now. Thanks to this movie a lot of doors are opening. I’m meeting with great filmmakers and being considered for amazing projects. A lot of them are in the works, which is very exciting. Hopefully in five years I’ll be working more, playing great characters, working with a variety of people, learning a lot and working on my music.
I’m actually working on my third album. It will be mainly in English but I’m also looking to collaborate with Latin songwriters and singers. Adam Levine, he’s awesome and I’m a big Maroon 5 fan, signed me to his record label and we are working together trying to find the right songs so it’s great. Hopefully in five years there will be more music and more acting.
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