Writer and director Cameron Crowe's experiences as a teenage rock journalist — he was a regular contributor to Rolling Stone while still in high school — inspired this coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy hitting the road with an up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s. Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand) is a bright, loving, but strict single parent whose distrust of rock music and fears about drug use have helped to drive a wedge between herself and her two Children & Family, Anita (Zooey Deschanel) and William (Patrick Fugit). Anita rebels by dropping out of school and becoming a stewardess, but William makes something of his love of rock & roll by writing album reviews for a local underground newspaper. William's work attracts the attention of Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), editor of renegade rock magazine Creem, who takes William under his wing and gives him his first professional writing assignment — covering a Black Sabbath concert. While William is unable to score an interview with the headliners, the opening act, Stillwater, are more than happy to chat with a reporter, even if he's still too young to drive, and William's piece on the group in Creem gains him a new admirer in Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen), an editor at Rolling Stone. Torres offers William an assignment for a 3,000-word cover story on Stillwater, and over the objections of his mother (whose parting words are "Don't use drugs!"), and after some stern advice from Bangs (who says under no circumstances should he become friends with a band he's covering), Williams joins Stillwater on tour, where he becomes friendly with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee). William also becomes enamored of Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a groupie traveling with the band who is no older than William, but is deeply involved with Russell. Lester Bangs and Ben Fong-Torres, incidentally, were real-life rock writers Crowe worked with closely during his days as a journalist. Almost Famous' original score was composed by Nancy Wilson of Heart (who is also Crowe's wife).
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Cast & Crew
Billy CrudupActorKnown as much for his rigorous career choices as for his talent and chiseled good looks, Billy Crudup has been straddling the line between serious actor and "it" leading man for several years. Crudup was born in 1968 in Manhasset, New York (a Long Island suburb), the middle child in a family of three boys. He is the son of Georgann (Gaither) and Thomas Henry Crudup III, and the grandson of prominent attorney William Cotter "Billy" Gaither, Jr. Crudup was raised in Florida and Texas. His family frequently moved and always being the new kid meant Billy had to develop some way of gaining acceptance. Being the class clown was his ticket in. He found roles in school pageants and developed funny impersonations to entertain family and friends. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina (where he confirmed his interest in acting). Upon graduation, Crudup headed to NYC to live with his brother Tommy (who was at that time a publicist) and study at New York University, where he joined a theatre troupe called "the lab!" and did little plays and musicals - he even played "Schroeder" in the famed children's musical "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown!". He then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at NY in 1994. A year later, he'd already made a name for himself on Broadway, earning the Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Newcomer Award for his performance in Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia". Crudup's first big-screen acting gig was in the indie film Grind (1997), which was shot in 1994, but ended up on the shelf for three years. In 1996, he landed another, more lucrative role, opposite Hollywood hotshots Brad Pitt and Jason Patric in the Barry Levinson drama, Sleepers (1996). He followed that up with a brief appearance in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and a higher-profile turn as the rakish older brother in Inventing the Abbotts (1997). A self-described student of human nature, Crudup has said that he looks for characters wrestling with their mistakes. Rumor has it that he declined an audition for the lead in Titanic (1997) in order to seek out more challenging projects--like the "Steve Prefontaine" biopic Without Limits (1998). "Limits" showcased Crudup's ability to completely transform himself for a role (a quality that would help him skirt stardom while continuing to land substantive parts). In 2000, with three major films in release, Crudup's already bustling movie career reached a fever pitch. He first hit the festival circuit in Keith Gordon's Waking the Dead (2000), the tale of an up-and-coming politician who is haunted by the death of his young wife. Next came the art-house favorite Jesus' Son (1999). Finally, he starred as the semi-fictional '70s rocker "Russell Hammond" in Cameron Crowe's much-lauded Almost Famous (2000). In 2002, his production of "The Elephant Man" on Broadway closed after 65 performances, due to low ticket sales. Crudup lives in New York and returns regularly to the stage - in fact, it was during the 1996 Broadway run of "Bus Stop" that he began his romance with longtime girlfriend, Mary-Louise Parker. That romance ended in 2004, when Crudup left the then-pregnant Parker for his Stage Beauty (2004) co-star, Claire Danes. He seems to prefer quiet anonymity to the pomp and circumstance of the movie star lifestyle, but his ever-growing popularity guarantees that he won't be able to avoid the spotlight altogether.More
Patrick FugitActorPatrick Fugit was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Jan Clark-Fugit, a dance teacher, and Bruce Fugit, an electrical engineer. He has two siblings. He began acting in a summer Theater program through the University of Utah at eleven. He continued on through high school and regional productions. He enjoys biking and skating. In 2002, he was featured in Seventeen magazine, along with Alison Lohman, his co-star from White Oleander (2002).More
Philip Seymour HoffmanActorFilm and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ancestry. After becoming involved in high school theatrics, he attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with a B.F.A. degree in Drama in 1989. He made his feature film debut in the indie production Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole (1991) as Phil Hoffman, and his first role in a major release came the next year in My New Gun (1992). While he had supporting roles in some other major productions like Scent of a Woman (1992) and Twister (1996), his breakthrough role came in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997). He quickly became an icon of indie cinema, establishing a reputation as one of the screen's finest actors, in a variety of supporting and second leads in indie and major features, including Todd Solondz's Happiness (1998), Flawless (1999), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (1999), Almost Famous (2000) and State and Main (2000). He also appeared in supporting roles in such mainstream, big-budget features as Red Dragon (2002), Cold Mountain (2003) and Mission: Impossible III (2006). Hoffman was also quite active on the stage. On Broadway, he has earned two Tony nominations, as Best Actor (Play) in 2000 for a revival of Sam Shepard's "True West" and as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) in 2003 for a revival of Eugene O'Neill (I)'s "Long Day's Journey into Night". His other acting credits in the New York theater include "The Seagull" (directed by Mike Nichols for The New York Shakespeare Festival), "Defying Gravity", "The Merchant of Venice" (directed by Peter Sellars), "Shopping and F*@%ing" and "The Author's Voice" (Drama Desk nomination). He is the Co-Artistic Director of the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York, for which he directed "Our Lady of 121st Street" by Stephen Adly Guirgis. He also has directed "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings" and "Jesus Hopped the A Train" by Guirgis for LAByrinth, and "The Glory of Living" by Rebecca Gilman at the Manhattan Class Company. Hoffman consolidated his reputation as one of the finest actors under the age of 40 with his turn in the title role of Capote (2005), for which he won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award as Best Actor. In 2006, he was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for the same role. On February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in an apartment in Greenwich village, New York. Investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his arm and two open envelopes of heroin next to him. Mr. Hoffman was long known to struggle with addiction. In 2006, he said in an interview with "60 Minutes" that he had given up drugs and alcohol many years earlier, when he was age 22. In 2013, he checked into a rehabilitation program for about 10 days after a reliance on prescription pills resulted in his briefly turning again to heroin.More
Zooey DeschanelActorZooey Deschanel was born in 1980 into a showbiz family. Her father, Caleb Deschanel, is an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer (perhaps most notably for The Passion of the Christ (2004)) and her mother, Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir), is an actress who appeared in Twin Peaks (1990). Her paternal grandfather was French, and her other roots include English, German, Scottish, Irish, and Dutch. Driven from an early age to become a successful actress, Zooey got her big break, at age 17, playing a model in the TV sitcom, Veronica's Closet (1997). She got her first film role, the following year, in Mumford (1999), which prompted her to quit university to pursue acting full-time. Mostly thanks to a role in Cameron Crowe's popular biopic, Almost Famous (2000), Zooey's rise to fame has been steadily increasing as the 21st century wears on. Her distinctive acting style found her critical acclaim in 2003, when she was voted Best Actress at the Mar Del Plata Film Festival for her role in David Gordon Green's All the Real Girls (2003). She also gained a Best Female Lead nomination (for All the Real Girls (2003)) at the following year's Independent Spirit Awards, but lost out to Charlize Theron. Zooey has appeared in such films as 500 Days of Summer (2009), Our Idiot Brother (2011), Yes Man (2008) (opposite Jim Carrey), Elf (2003) (opposite Will Farrell), Your Highness (2011), The Happening (2008) (opposite Mark Wahlberg), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) and is the star of the FOX sitcom, New Girl (2011). Zooey is often compared to golden era Hollywood starlets and is also a talented singer. She has said in interviews that she believes her singing ability was pivotal in gaining the role of "Jovie" in Elf (2003). She also sang (and acted) in the Disney-produced musical, Once Upon a Mattress (2005).More
Frances McDormandActorFrances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957 in Gibson City, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian-born parents, Noreen Eloise (Nickleson), a nurse from Ontario, and The Rev. Vernon Weir McDormand, a Disciples of Christ minister from Nova Scotia, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned her B.A. in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982. Her career after graduation began onstage, and she has retained her association with the theater throughout her career. She soon obtained prominent roles in movies as well, first starring in Blood Simple (1984), in which she worked with filmmaker Joel Coen, whom she married that year. She frequently collaborated with Coen and his brother Ethan Coen in their films. McDormand's skilled and versatile acting has been recognized by both the critics and the Academy and, in addition to many critics' awards, she has been nominated for an Academy Award five times - Supporting in Mississippi Burning (1988), Almost Famous (2000), and North Country (2005), and Lead in Fargo (1996) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), winning the Oscar for the latter two. Keenly intelligent and possessed of a sharp wit, McDormand is the antithesis of the Hollywood starlet - rather than making every role about Frances McDormand, she dissolves into the characters she plays. Accordingly, she has expressed some reservations about the iconic recognition she has gained from her touching and amusing portrayal of Police Chief Marge Gunderson, the quintessential Minnesota Scandinavian, in Fargo (1996). McDormand and Coen adopted a son, Pedro McDormand Coen, who was born in Paraguay, in 1994. They live in Manhattan, New York.More