Creating a movie set in past decades requires a keen eye and painful attention to detail at times. For the makers of Rock of Ages, recreating the 80s was their mission. From hair bands like Poison and Whitesnake, neon, and the introduction of the very first cell phone, creating the set was no easy feat. One of the more difficult set pieces was the limo belonging to Tom Cruise’s character, Stacee Jaxx, the film’s craziest rock star. An 80s-era Cadillac limo was not an easy prop to come by.
The movie, based on the Broadway musical of the same name, is set in 1980s Hollywood and follows the story of two young aspiring stars, a small town girl and a big city boy, who meet on the Sunset Strip. The Strip, known for celebrity deaths, clubs, and nightlife is the vein through West Hollywood. Using the power hits of the time from bands like Styx, Journey, and Bon Jovi, the movie brings the decade back to life through music, wardrobe, set design, and, of course, the cars.
In the movie, Jaxx owns two vehicles. One of those is the Cadillac limousine with all the extras you could imagine, including a VHS movie system. Chris Gorden, who was in charge of finding all the cars used in the movie, was especially proud of finding and completely redoing the limo. It was his biggest challenge he said because those limos rarely last long and they aren’t something many people hold on to therefore, very difficult to find. He ended up finding just the limo he needed from a seller located in Michigan who charged about $5,000 for the metal beast that required, among other updates, new interior lights, some bodywork including new door panels, and a fresh coat of paint. Replicating the limo of a 1980s rock star was no less daunting than turning Cruise into Stacee Jaxx.
Redoing the limo, however, did require a single downgrade: the team had to replace a DVD system with the 1980s VHS version to stay true to the decade. By the end of the improvements Gorden says the limo oozed everything about the 1980s. Jaxx’s other set of wheels, a Harley bike, was Cruise’s favorite of Jaxx’s two vehicles. The Harley had a whale-tail exhaust pipe and fenders and a tank straight from 1965. According to Gorden, Cruise says the motorcycle was similar to one he owned during the 80s.
Though the limo may not have come from a premier limousine company, once all the updates were completed, the classic stretch limo was supped-up and shiny enough even for the red carpet. The metallic gas hog even impressed Cruise.
Other stars in the film include Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Diego Boneta. A little known secret about the film is that while the action takes place in Hollywood, most of it was filmed across the country in Miami in a neighborhood as supped-up as Jaxx’s Cadillac limo.