Cameron Crowe has marked the upcoming 20th anniversary of Almost Famous by revealing that legendary musician Neil Young nearly had an incredible cameo in his beloved comedy drama.
Released on September 13, 2000, in the United States, Almost Famous is Crowe’s semi-autobiographical tale of a teenage music journalist going on tour with the fictitious rock band Stillwater.
Billy Crudup played lead guitarist Russell Hammond in Almost Famous, and during a recent interview with Rolling Stone Crowe admitted that Young was supposed to star in a scene as his estranged father, Harry Hammond.
“Neil was going to come backstage in Cleveland with a young wife,” Crowe recalled. “They’re complimenting the show, but the young bride is looking at Crudup and he’s looking at her; and he realises that the father is being played and is piggybacking on his [son’s] success. It’s a heartbreaking moment about what success does to an estranged parent.”
But unfortunately Young had to cancel the morning of the shoot, even though costume designer Betsy Heimann had lined up “his clothes and everything.” This meant that the “cool little scene” never came to fruition.
Crowe says that Young soon made up for it, though, as he provided one of his songs for the soundtrack.
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“He was first in line to give us the acoustic Cortez The Killer, and he went through his archives to find the perfect take and mixed it and gave it to us. So he giveth and he taketh.”
When it was originally released, Almost Famous actually proved to be something of a flop. Having cost $60 million (£45 million) to make, it only grossed $47.4 million (£36.2 million) across the world. But it has since turned into a cult classic, and even placed 79th in the BBC’s poll to find the greatest film since 2000.