I recently got the chance to talk to Maria Ines Serritella about her role in ‘Rock Of Ages’. Here, Maria talks about how she got involved in the project in the first place and about her career as a professional dancer…
Hey Maria. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Rock Of Ages’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
A small-town girl and a big-city boy find their fates intersecting on the Sunset Strip, riding a wave of romance through the height of the “hair metal” scene as the off-Broadway musical rocks its way to the big screen courtesy of choreographer-turned-director Adam Shankman (‘A Walk to Remember’, ‘Hairspray’). Arriving in Hollywood with stars in her eyes, Sherrie – (Julianne Hough) meets Drew – (Diego Boneta), and together they plunge headlong into the local rock scene. Meanwhile, as Sherrie struggles to stay afloat in a churning sea of rock ‘n’ roll excess, she gets swept off her feet by audacious rock star Stacee Jaxx – (Tom Cruise). Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, and Bryan Cranston co-star in a movie featuring music by Journey, Def Leppard, Poison, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Foreigner, Joan Jett, and REO Speedwagon ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a stiff, uptight, religious Protesting Mother, who fights against rock-n-roll. It was fun for me to play this character because she was the exact opposite of who I really am. At heart, I am a punk-rocker.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
‘Rock Of Ages’ was one of several films that came to South Florida last season. When they put out a casting notice to all the agents seeking dancing mothers, my agent – (knowing of my dance background) e-mailed me the breakdown notice. I attended the audition – (led by renowned choreographer Mia Michaels), learned the given choreography that afternoon, then danced my mother-protesting backside off. I was so happy and grateful to be chosen as one of the Protesting Mothers.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
‘Rock Of Ages’ is an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical that pulls from some amazing 80’s rock bands – Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Pat Bentar, Twisted Sister, Poison and Whitesnake. It’s cast is unexpected, and delivers very humorous performances. Particularly, Malin Ackerman was wonderful! Also, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin were hilarious together. And, it’s not everyday audiences get to witness Tom Cruise as a long-haired rock star and Catherine Zeta-Jones all dolled up in leather and chains at Stacee Jaxx’s concert at the end of the film.
The film stars Diego Boneta, Dakota Sage Grant, Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise, Matthew Rush Sullivan, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Constantine Maroulis – with Adam Shankman onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The cast and crew of this film were a great pleasure to work with. Everyone worked very efficiently and conducted themselves professionally. From personal wardrobe fittings with famed costume designer Rita Ryack to makeup and wig fittings with acclaimed makeup artists such as Roma Demartino, the whole experience was a blast! One minute I’m in a trailer with legendary rock stars, and the next, I’m on set with legendary film stars. It was surreal.
As for an anecdote: I recall one night on set, seeping into it’s 11th or 12th hour, and director Adam Shankman called for a short break, I witnessed Russell Brand making his way floating through the sea of the cast on set injecting this amazing positive energy and morale in an attempt to keep up everyone’s energy levels and good spirits. Sebastian Bach – (Canadian heavy metal frontman of Skid Row) also appeared right beside Russell a few minutes later, as well, for a little chatting with the cast.
Let’s talk a bit about you Maria. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
Since I was 4 years old, I have always loved being up on stage performing. As I grew older, my passion for dancing evolved, and thus, led me to working and acting on film and television. I do feel there is a natural, steady energy that flows through my veins and encourages me to keep going.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Be persistent, be honest with yourself, and fully commit. Be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices. Also, be polite. Saying “Please” and “Thank you” go a long way. Lastly, don’t speak negatively about others; it’s a small world, and words can get around.
What is currently on your I-Pod?
Since I use my I-Pod for both work as a choreographer and instructor of dance, and for personal use, I have everything from classical ballet to contemporary pop, punk, latin, rock, swing, Flamenco, and Middle Eastern tunes for my Belly Dance classes.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Well, I couldn’t just choose three guests, I had to choose five…
- Diana, Princess of Wales : for her outlook on life, people, love, and family.
- Gene Kelly: what an amazing performer and icon.
- Edgar Degas: for his bold and controversial views of art, and his ability to cross many stylistic boundaries… and, perhaps the possibility to be a subject in one of his works.
- Leonardo DiCaprio: for his immense talent and ecoawareness.
- Paula Deen: for some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality, charm, food, family, and fun!
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Of the cities I have visited thus far, it is a toss-up between New York, London, and Paris. I adore the energy and excitement of New York City. My grandmother is from Harrow, Middlesex, and many of my relatives currently reside in various parts of the UK; therefore, I have developed an affection for all things English. As well, I was also completely enamored with the architecture, art, and beauty of France (including a great great grandfather).
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
I love spending my free time with my loved ones. And, yummy food is definitely one way to my heart.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
In 2012-13, I am looking forward to the release of a short film I worked on in which I play the role of perfectionist, controlling, obsessive “secretary”. The film centers around the topic of modern-day sex slavery in the USA. As well, I am currently working with a Flamenco/Modern Dance fusion dance company in preparation for a production set to be performed later this summer. And, I am in talks to appear in a very cool and intelligently written indie feature. Feel free to stay on top of my career by visiting my IMDB page at: http://www.IMDB.me/mariainesserritella and/or my website at: www.MariaInesSerritella.com.
Thanks for the interview!