Julianne Hough of “Dancing With the Stars” and “Footloose” plays a starry-eyed Oklahoma girl who heads to Hollywood in 1987 and ends up waiting tables in “Rock of Ages.” | Warner Bros. Entertainment
Updated: July 11, 2012 6:07AM
LOS ANGELES — She just wanted to rock. In the end, Julianne Hough rocked it a little too much in a scene that was cut from the new film “Rock of Ages.”
“I did a duet of ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ with Tom Cruise, and it was badass,” Hough says. “It was the sexiest, roughest performance in the movie … and just a bit too much because it was a musical lap dance. It was just pure sexy.
“Take out the music and it was a little bit, ‘Whooooeeee!’ ”
Though filmgoers won’t see it when “Rock of Ages” opens Friday, Hough hopes the scene will be on the DVD. “It’s the most physical dancing you’ve ever seen Tom Cruise do,” she says.
Sweet and unassuming, Hough has a giggle and a down-home charm that makes you wonder how rough the bump ’n’ grind could ever be.
She’s an open book, too, which is odd in Hollywood. Ask Ryan Seacrest’s girlfriend about marriage and children, and in a serious voice, she says, “Oh goodness, will I get married? Eventually in my life, definitely. That’s what I was put on this earth to do … get married and have babies.”
In “Rock of Ages,” set in 1987 on the infamous Sunset Strip, Hough plays Sherrie Christian, a young woman from Oklahoma who steps on a bus to Hollywood to follow her dreams.
She ends up working as a waitress at the Bourbon Room, where she meets superstar rocker Stacee Jaxx (Cruise) and other music industry types.
At 23, Hough belts out tunes older than she is. “The music is so incredible,” she says. “The melodies from the ’80s made those songs so iconic and classic. I wish there were more melodies like that today.”
Not that she loved everything about that decade. “There is a fashion that should never be back, and it’s called the high-waisted bikini bottoms,” she says.
At a certain point, her Sherrie quits the Bourbon and becomes a stripper on the Sunset Strip in a club owned by Mary J. Blige.
“The pole dancing was extremely tough. I thought it was going to be a lot of bumping and grinding on a pole. I came to know you need a lot of upper-body strength,” she says. “There was a girl who walks down the air backwards with one hand. It was incredible. I had bruises all along my inner thighs and lots of sore muscles.”
A native of Salt Lake City, Hough had the same Hollywood dreams as her character.
“I had $2,000 in my pocket when I came to L.A. I told my dad I had $5,000, which was the only way I could come out here. My rent was $1,000 a month, which was scary.
“There was this feeling that I had to get everything I went after, from booking a commercial to doing choreography. If not, I’d have to go home,” she says.
Hough went on to train celebs including winners Apolo Ohno and Helio Castroneves on “Dancing with the Stars.” She also released a self-titled country album in 2008 and played Ariel in the big-screen reboot of “Footloose.”
Hough just wrapped a feature written and directed by Diablo Cody, starring Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer. She will also star opposite Josh Duhamel in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven.
“I just love to entertain,” she says. “When I don’t dance I feel like something is missing, but I also want to stretch my acting skills. I want to take my passion for dancing and use it for something else.
“I’m excited to get better as an actress. I’m excited about all of it.”
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