So fine, we weren't in the car with Adam Shankman, but the Ministry caught up with the multi-talented director and choreographer this week while he was on the road, to chat about awards, childhood inspiration and Alec Baldwin's wig.
Shankman has directed musicals including "Hairspray" and the upcoming Tom Cruise starrer "Rock of Ages." He's also the recipient this year of one of Outfest's Legacy Awards.
Ministry of Gossip: Does it feel odd to get a Legacy Award in the middle of your career?
Adam Shankman: I know, right? I swear I'm not that old [laughs]. What Outfest Legacy is about is the preservation of film, of that sort of journey in LGBT film, so that, yeah, is what the honor is and I'm thrilled.
MoG: You've been a choreographer, a television director for shows like "Glee," and obviously your film work from "A Walk to Remember" to "Rock of Ages." What were you inspirations as a kid?
AS: Well, the through-line of all that is song and dance. I'm from L.A. and some of my earliest memories were loving song and dance, stuff like "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "The Sound of Music."
MoG: "Rock of Ages" seems to be the perfect storm of all that, with such a huge cast. Was there any trepidation at all in working with Tom Cruise?
AS: No, and in a strange way, it was a near perfect experience. His level of commitment and enthusiasm, I mean, he becomes this incredible partner for you.... I learned that he has two things in life that he loves: his family and his work.
MoG: What about the risk of casting him as an iconic rock star, something we've never seen from him before?
AS: He and I agreed a long time ago that we would never expose him if he wasn't going to be great. And he threw himself in 2 million percent.
MoG: This is also a major step for Alec Baldwin. From all of his "30 Rock" success it's clear that his film career could be viable again, but let's start first with his hair.
AS: I mean, when we put that wig on him, we giggled for hours.
MoG: Is he ready for film again?
AS: Well, the thing is -- every time he's in a movie he's spectacular. The greatest thing, that I am so happy for and happy for the entire world, really, is the moment he discovered comedy. It doesn't just have to be in the ["30 Rock" character] Jack Donaghy suit.
Shankman will accept Outfest Legacy's Visionary Award on Thursday at the Directors Guild America. The organization will also honor Lifetime Networks.
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-- Matt Donnelly
Photo: Adam Shankman in Burbank in 2010. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times