Brad Pitt turned down a role in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous and our minds are blown

Brad Pitt (right) was first cast as Russell Hammond in Almost Famous (left) (Picture: Getty)

Almost Famous could have looked very different if Brad Pitt had starred in it – but he turned down one of the lead roles. 

Director Cameron Crowe has revealed that he had earmarked Brad for the role of Russell Hammond in the 2000 hit movie and was left in tears when Brad pulled out. 

Speaking on the Origins podcase, Cameron revealed: ‘Brad Pitt was on my mind because I had a really good meeting with him around the time of Say Anything, and he was just starting out, and he just really had something.

‘So, I called him with this to play Russell Hammond, and we spent about four months working on it. He read with Natalie Portman.’

He added that he ‘wept’ when Brad turned down the role: ‘I knew that [Brad] had never fully fallen in love with the character. 

‘He had fallen in love with the idea of the character. But maybe there just wasn’t enough on the page.’

Director Cameron Crowe cried when Brad pulled out of the film (Picture: Ovidiu Hrubaru/REX/Shutterstock)

However, the pair remained on good terms with Cameron revealing: ‘I think six or seven months later, he just walked in the door one day at our office, said he was driving by, just wanted to come in and say that we’d always been on his mind and good luck, and I loved him for it!’

Almost Famous is a comedy drama about teen journalist William Miller (played by Patrick Fugit) getting his big break to write for Rolling Stone magazine by joining rock band Stillwater on tour. 

The film launched the career of Kate Hudson, who plays Penny Lane, a ‘band aid’ who follows Stillwater on their tour and who is romantically involved with Russell despite him having a girlfriend at home. 

Billy Crudup eventually took on the role of Russell Hammond (Picture: Dreamworks Llc/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

Although Kate is iconic in the role, she was also not Cameron’s first choice to play Penny Lane, either. 

Kate revealed on the Origins podcast that Sarah Polley had been the first choice for Penny but pulled out: ‘When I read Almost Famous the first time, that was the character that stood out on the page.

Kate Hudson’s role as Penny Lane became iconic (Picture: Anthony Harvey/REX)

‘It was like oh, Sarah Polley, she’s so lucky, this is the best part. Then I said to Cameron, “Can I audition for Penny Lane?” It was like, “Mm, I don’t think so.” 

‘I was not what Cameron had in mind in the beginning. I was Anita. I was the sister.’

Natalie Portman had also read for the role, but Kate wasn’t giving up easy: ‘I just begged. I was like please, I want to audition. I think [casting director] Gail [Levin] and my agents were persuasive enough to let him open that up. I went in and I auditioned.’

And the rest is history. 

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us celebtips@metro.co.uk, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

MORE: Brad Pitt to star in new adaptation of Japanese action thriller Bullet Train

MORE: Brad Pitt recalls ‘aggressive chafing’ in his leather skirt while filming action blockbuster Troy


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.