The “Beautiful” singer portrayed Ali, a small-town girl who heads to Los Angeles with big dreams and a dynamic voice to back up her determination to see her name in lights. She unknowingly walks into a burlesque club run by Tess (Cher), which is facing financial hardship despite its talented group of dancers.
Ali wants to audition but finds herself working at the club as a waitress. The film follows Ali as she fights her way from the bar to the stage while juggling a love triangle between sensitive bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet) and wealthy real estate developer Marcus (Eric Dane).
Aguilera told Collider in November 2010 that she wanted Ali’s character to be rewritten before she agreed to sign on to the project.
“They had to rewrite the character because I was just like, ‘This girl doesn’t have a lot of drive,'” she said at the time. “‘She doesn’t have enough meat. I think you should give it to someone else.’ I had an initial meeting with Amy Pascal and Clint Culpepper, and I said, ‘I just don’t think she’s for me. I want someone with more bite and more passion for what she wants in life.’ And so, they rewrote it.”
The “Dirrty” singer added that she channeled her lack of acting experience into the character.
“I also had to have a balance of starting out very vulnerable and wide-eyed and naive,” she explained. “I put that energy into how I really was feeling, approaching acting in the first place, which was wide-eyed and as a newcomer, who was open and vulnerable to everyone’s opinions and ideas, and ready to learn.”
Aguilera and Cher developed a close bond behind-the-scenes of the film that emulated their characters’ budding mother-daughter relationship in the movie. The “Believe” singer told Collider in November 2010 that she felt an immediate connection to Aguilera, whom she tried to mentor during filming.
“She reminded me of the relationship that I had with Meryl Streep [on Silkwood], when Meryl took me under her wing,” she said at the time. “The truth was that I didn’t have any idea where to stand, not that I know where to stand now. I just learned what downstage and upstage is. But, Christina worked so hard. She overcame a lot. She came on the set with us, and that’s a little bit nerve-wracking when you’ve done nothing in film. I tried to put her at ease. As time went by, she felt a lot more comfortable.”
Although Cher enjoyed her time working on the movie, she admitted in 2013 that she wasn’t proud of the project.
“It wasn’t a good film,” the Moonstruck star told the Los Angeles Times. “It had a few good moments, but I didn’t even like my performance that much. What, I don’t have a brain? I’m old but I’m still pretty on top of everything.”
Scroll down to see stars you may have forgot appeared in Burlesque.