watch the Almost Famous cast reunite w/ Cameron Crowe for film’s 20th anniversary
Cameron Crowe turned his years as a teenage music writer for Rolling Stone into the wonderful, music-filled coming-of-age film Almost Famous. In it, Patrick Fugit plays William Miller, the fictionalized version of Crowe, who hits the road with up-and-coming band Stillwater and forms a fast bond with its lead guitarist, Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). (Stillwater also includes Jason Lee as lead singer Jeff Bebe, Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek as bassist Larry Fellows and John Fedevich as drummer Ed Vallencourt.)
William also meets, and falls for, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), who heads up a group of girls known as Band Aids (don't call them groupies!). Along the way he gets advice from cult writer Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), sings Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" on a bus, and almost dies on an airplane, all while trying to convince his loving, protective mother (Frances McDormand) that he can make up his schoolwork when the tour is over and the article is finished.
It's a wonderful movie that you can currently stream with a Showtime subscription, and is available through most video-on-demand services, though if you can get your hands on the "Untitled" director's "bootleg cut" DVD, that's even better.
Almost Famous turns 20 in September and there have been a few a celebrations already. Rolling Stone just released an hour-long reunion special where Crowe, Fugit, Crudup, and Hudson discuss, via Zoom, favorite scenes, anecdotes, and more. You can watch that below.
If you want to know more about the making of Almost Famous, one of the hosts of that reunion video is writer James Andrew Miller, who also hosts podcast Origins; its new season looks back on the making of Crowe's film. The five-part podcast covers the entire production of the film, from the kernels of ideas that led to the script, though casting (Brad Pitt was originally hired to play Russell), the "rock school" the band had to attend that was led by Peter Frampton (who co-wrote songs with Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson of Heart), the long filming of Almost Famous, and the film's legacy. The podcast talks with Cameron Crowe, Hudson, Crudup, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Jimmy Fallon, Frampton & Wilson, and more. If you're a fan of the film it's definitely worth listening to below.
You can also watch the trailer, and a deleted scene where William uses Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" to try to convince his mom to let him go on tour with Stillwater, below. You'll need to add "Stairway" yourself, though, as they couldn't secure rights to use it (which is why it was cut from the film).