• Image about diego-boneta-duran-duran-julianne-hough-americanway
David James

He may be new to the big screen, but for Diego Boneta, playing a rock-god-in-training (opposite Julianne Hough) in Rock of Ages was no stretch. After all, he’d already released two hit albums and starred on three telenovelas in his native Mexico. But despite his teen-idol past, he says that when he landed in Hollywood in 2007, “I was starting from scratch.” Thanks to his new role, the 21-year-old actor, who broke out with parts on teen hits 90210 and Pretty Little Liars, says he’s ready to rock all over again.

On his Rock roots: “I was born in 1990, but my parents love old-school rock, so growing up, I was into the Stones, Duran Duran and Peter Gabriel.”

On living at home: “I live at home with my parents, brother and sister. It’s not very Hollywood, but it works for me. They keep me grounded. And my mom makes the best Mexican food. I’m pretty spoiled.”

On his lush locks: “For Rock of Ages, I’m glad I didn’t have to use a wig. Director Adam Shankman just asked me to grow mine out — it’s all mine. It gets really curly and big, like a lion’s mane, so it was perfect for all the ’80s stuff.”

On rocking out with Tom Cruise: “Tom and I took guitar lessons together, so we jammed all the time, talking about movies, talking about acting, talking about music. I learned so much from him. Talk about work ethic! He’s the hardest-working man I’ve ever met in my life — and it’s just because he loves what he’s doing so much.”

On what’s next: “I’m actually working on my first American album now, with all tracks in English. Good pop songs with a bit of rock edge.”