Did you know that Hall of Fame-anointed Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is also an actor? The former American Idol judge has a lengthy IMDb, which includes a role in the upcoming horror thriller Happy Birthday.
“It’s all in good fun,” Tyler tells PEOPLE via email of his fun-loving and eccentric character Kasape Suka, who crosses paths with the film’s main characters during an illegal activity-filled, unexpectedly dangerous birthday celebration in the town of Mexicali.
Tyler, who’s appeared frequently on TV and film, though mainly as himself, says he put a lot of effort into his performance so that his character feels like a natural part of the film versus a Steven Tyler cameo.
“Obviously I understand that when you see a guy like me or Keith Richards in a movie [like] Pirates of the Caribbean, that some people might go, ‘Hey, isn’t that Steven Tyler?’ ” he explains. “But we worked on the character enough where I think it melds into the movie without sticking out too much.”
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So how did Tyler get involved with the independent film? A longtime connection with director Casey Tebo.
“I met Casey more than 10 years ago and he had the fire and foresight to take the lowest level jobs working for Aerosmith, filming our rehearsals, doing web videos, things like that,” recalls Tyler. “To see him work his butt off – eventually doing music videos, then he made that concert film about Aerosmith in Japan, and now to make his first indie feature film. I told him when I met him he would be one of the biggest working directors out there, David Fincher directed ‘Janie’s Got a Gun,’ Michael Bay directed ‘Falling in Love … Is Hard on the Knees,’ and Casey directed ‘Legendary Child’ – so he’s in good company. It’s great to see someone work hard and reap the benefits. His energy reminded me of when we used to play clubs with bigger dreams and the ‘won’t take no for an answer’ attitude.
Tyler’s experience has re-inspired him to pursue more film roles. He has his sights set on the Marvel movie universe, and one franchise in particular:
“I hope [audiences] enjoy [Happy Birthday]. I know I did! It made me want to do more movies for sure, I would do anything to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 – are you listening James Gunn?”
Happy Birthday opens in theaters and is available on VOD Sept. 9.