A Cinderella story with the amp turned up to 11, this light-hearted drama charts the rise of Chris Cole (Wahlberg) — a Pittsburgh office-supply salesman by day, heavy metal cover-band frontman by night — whose rock & roll dream comes true when he’s tapped to replace the singer for his favorite group, Steel Dragon. Sound familiar? That’s because the movie was inspired by the true tale of Ripper Owens, who now fills Rob Halford’s black leather boots in Judas Priest.
Aniston costars as Chris’ longtime girlfriend and manager, who realizes her love doesn’t want to come home from the ball. ”It’s a boy-meets-girl-loses-girl-and-meets-girl-again [story] with a different spin,” says director Herek, who tackled an entirely different musical genre in 1995’s ”Mr. Holland’s Opus.” For added authenticity, the members of Steel Dragon are played by real rock stars, including Ozzy Osbourne’s former guitarist Zakk Wylde, Verve Pipe guitarist Brian Vander Ark, Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, and Led Zeppelin offspring, drummer Jason Bonham. Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins cameos as an extraordinarily untalented musician.
As for strutting his own talent, the erstwhile Marky Mark signed up for six months of singing lessons to prepare for the role (though his voice has been augmented for the movie), and even agreed to perform one snippet of a hip-hop song. ”I had promised myself I was never going to be in a film where I had a Boston accent or sang and danced,” says the actor, who completed this film before ”Planet of the Apes.” ”But I kind of broke that [second] rule with ”Boogie Nights.” At least with this, I got to do a different accent.”