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Big dreams, big hair

From Axl Rose’s bandanna’d shag to Farrah Fawcett’s feathered mane, ”Rock of Ages” director Adam Shankman and lead hairstylist Camille Friend discuss the ‘dos that inspired the cast’s headbanging looks

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Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx (hair inspired by Axl Rose)

Cruise’s personal hairstylist Michael White added an inch and a half of extensions to the star’s locks to create a style that’s reminiscent of a young Axl Rose. According to Shankman, the decision to model the look on the Guns N’ Roses frontman came after hearing Cruise sing. ”Tom’s voice sounds like Axl’s,” says the director, who changed the character from a bloated buffoon — as he appears in the Broadway musical that inspired the movie — to a rock god. ”I said [to Tom], ‘Let’s make him you. Let’s make him a guy who is so famous he doesn’t even know what to do with himself.’ Tom absolutely knows what to do with himself, but he understood what I meant.”

Malin Akerman as Constance Sack (hair inspired by Sharon Stone)

To play a music journalist who has a wild tryst with Jaxx, Akerman needed a ”nerdy but sexy” look, says Friend. Sharon Stone and geek goddess Kelly LeBrock served as models for the actress’ handwoven wig (one of more than 50 made for the film), although Shankman admits the character’s exaggerated curls were also inspired by someone closer to home. ”My sister had [that] hair,” he says. ”We were, like, the ultimate ’80s kids. I had the horrible Flock of Seagulls thing going on.”

Mary J. Blige as Justice Charlier (hair inspired by Chaka Khan)

The singer picked her own music icons — Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Patrice Rushen — as models for the wigs worn by her character, the owner of a strip club. ”Adam wanted her to have a different [hairstyle] with every outfit,” says Friend, who obliged with a set of bigger-is-better looks. Despite her Grammy-laden career, Blige was insecure about her onscreen abilities — much to Shankman’s surprise. ”I’d go into her trailer at the end of the night and tell her how great she was, and she’d be like, ‘Really?’ ” he says. ”And I was like, ‘Oh my God. You’re Mary J. Blige.”’

Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree (hair inspired by Kris Kristofferson)

”With Alec there are no shades of gray. The first time he put the wig on, he said, ‘I like it.’ So that was that,” says Friend, who worked off a photo that Baldwin gave her of actor-singer Kris Kristofferson. Playing the owner of a Whisky a Go Go-style bar on the Sunset Strip, the 30 Rock star earned the nickname ”Hurricane Baldwin” for his occasionally blustery behavior on set. But Shankman says Baldwin had a change of heart after seeing early footage of Tom Cruise in the film. ”Alec turned to me and said, ‘I thought I knew a lot about acting, but I know nothing about acting now that I’m looking at him.”’

Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian (hair inspired by Farrah Fawcett)

In one of the movie’s most memorable sight gags, Hough’s naive aspiring singer shellacs her hair into a high peak while preening for a night out (to the tune of Foreigner’s ”I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You”). ”Adam was like, ‘I want it higher!’ ” says Friend, who used extensions to create Farrah Fawcett volume. ”So I back-combed her hair really tight and sprayed it. And he was like, ‘That’s it!’ When we saw it on the monitor, we cracked up.”

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