Mary J. Blige sings for Justice in "Rock of Ages"

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:07am EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Grammy-winning R&B singer Mary J. Blige has always sung from her heart, telling of personal struggles on albums such as "No More Drama" and "Stronger with Each Tear." She also has dabbled in acting with guest roles on TV's "Ghost Whisperer" and in the Tyler Perry film "I Can Do Bad All By Myself."

On Friday, her acting and singing skills will both be on display in her most high-profile film role yet - Justice, owner of the Venus Gentlemen's Club in the rock musical "Rock of Ages."

In the adaptation of the Broadway musical, Blige belts out tunes like Journey's "Any Way You Want It" and Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night" while taking in an aspiring young singer named Sherrie (Julianne Hough) whose own Hollywood dreams have hit a low point.

Blige, 41, sat down with Reuters to talk about the role, her strong desire to mentor young women and the recent scandal that has plagued her female empowerment foundation.

Q: You play the owner of strip club in the film. Did you try and find some commonality between yourself and your character?

A: We have a lot in common. She was a protector of young women in that environment. She saw herself in Sherrie and wanted Sherrie to be better than her. And not be stuck in a place like a strip club.

Q: How does that relate to you?

A: The back story I gave Justice was that some man took the power from her when she was younger. And they kept taking it from her to the point that she ended up in place like (a strip club) to take the power back from them. A lot of that is Mary.   Continued...

Cast member Mary J. Blige poses at the premiere of "Rock of Ages" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 8, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 15. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni