Lockdown Rewatch

Almost Famous

Oh, to be on tour with the band these days…

“I’m with the band…” If you ever wondered what life on the road with a rock band was like then give today’s Lockdown Rewatch a spin. In Almost Famous you get to live vicariously through 15-year-old William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who blags a commission to write for Rolling Stone magazine by following up-and-coming band, Stillwater, around the backwaters of the USA. Written, produced and directed by triple-threat Cameron Crowe, the film is based on Crowe’s own experience as a teenage writer for the music magazine, and touring with bands such as the Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin. The film also features a rockin’ ensemble cast including Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson and Philip Seymour Hoffman and delivers, unsurprisingly, a banging soundtrack… 

But did you know… 

1) Despite being a critical success and even taking home several Academy Award nominations (and a win for Best Original Screenplay), the film did not break even at the box office. It was produced on a $60 Million budget, and grossed just about $47 Million worldwide. Crowe seems fairly unbothered by the financial results. “It’s been finding its audience ever since it came out”, he said. “We hear from bands all the time that are just now seeing it and love it. It’s still out there.”

2) Crowe and his then wife Nancy Wilson (from the band Heart) wrote many of the film’s songs on their honeymoon in 1986 “knowing sort of one day we might do a movie where we could use the stuff,” he said. “Almost 15 years later those songs became a reality.”

3) Crowe wanted the film to be called Untitled, but the production team thought it would be too hard to market. They started a long search for the perfect film title and came across a number of seriously strong contenders, including Vanilla Sky (a film which Crowe would direct a year later) and (jokingly) Saving William’s Privates. Ultimately Crowe settled on Almost Famous, which he thought best describes the people on the outskirts of celebrity, just like William himself. Crowe got his wish with a special DVD release of the film, titled ”Almost Famous — Untitled: The Bootleg Cut.”

This clip is part of the Making of Almost Famous.