“Almost famous”: the assembled cast returns to the stage of the “little dancer”


To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Almost known, we recently reunited writer / director Cameron Crowe with stars Kate Hudson (who played “Band Aid” Penny Lane), Billy Crudup (who played Russell Hammond, lead guitarist of the fictional “mid-level band” Stillwater) and Patrick Fugit (who played the teenage Rolling stone journalist William Miller). In the Conversation, (co-hosted by James Andrew Miller, whose Behind-the-Scenes podcast Origins has dedicated his current season to achieving Almost known), Crowe and the cast looked back at the movie’s most indelible scene: the backing vocals to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” on the Stillwater tour bus.Crowe: We were already a little late. Sometimes I felt like we were a little bit rogue, and we were filming and no one was paying attention to us. But [the studio] sort of woke up at one point and they were like, “Stay in it, guys, hold it back! It is not a permanent process, stop it. Around that time we got to the scene which had two lines in the script, namely, “They’re listening to ‘Tiny Dancer’ on the bus and singing while Russell realizes the heat of the day. community of his group and his team. And we are getting there and we are starting to do it.

It was one of those situations where you just felt it. It was like a physical thing when they started singing, and you could feel all the relationships in that one place. And Billy’s right there in the front, right inside his head, and they’re singing, and you can’t help but say, “This is the movie!” That’s all! ”

And I spoke to the cinematographer and I said, “We have to cover everyone up singing ‘Tiny Dancer’. And he’s like, “Did you hear what the studio told you lately? It will take two days! And I say to myself: “But you can feel it, right? You feel it. He said, “I can feel it. And I go, “Is it two days?” He said, “It’s two days.” I’m going, “We have to do this. And so we spent two days chasing that feeling and so much greatness came out of it. Like Kate, I don’t think “you’re home” was in the script, right? Wasn’t it an improvisation while we were shooting?

Hudson: Yeah. Was that two days? I don’t remember, you know.

Crowe: Look at the face of Noah Taylor [the actor who played Stillwater’s manager]. The only guy who is a punk rocker who hates “Tiny Dancer”. You can see two days of angst in his eyes as he sang along with this song. He hates Tiny Dancer. But everyone was just eating the elixir, and we were shooting each other. And it was kind of like we were on an exotic trip with this short scene. But man, the first second we started showing that scene to people, it was the beachhead, it was the thing. You know, that’s when you find the point of it all in the corner of the script that you don’t even realize it was quite there.

And what’s amazing is that we committed to this song. And it was the right song. And it wasn’t even that famous from a song. And you have to love Elton Kohn, because as soon as he saw the movie he was like, “I’ve always loved that song, ‘Tiny Dancer.’ You understand this song “Tiny Dancer!” And he started playing it on his show and he never stopped playing it. He gives us the credit. He’s the best guy. And everyone came to play in this scene. We did it chronologically, so it was kind of the moment in history that we were also going through while doing it. So everyone was a little weary. And I don’t know, my eye always goes to Billy on the forehead. And then I see [Fugit’s] pain. And then Kate kind of gives him the card of the future. And everyone felt so grateful that we had the time to do it. We paid the price later.

Crudup: Well, Cameron expressed it perfectly. In this tribe that was created with this group where there are divisions and ups and downs and there is uncertainty about the future, one thing they can all bond over is an immediate tacit connection. with a piece of music. So there is a delight in the midst of all this anguish.

Now, in the middle of that, they gave us all the lyrics for the whole song, if I remember correctly, for us to sing. And besides not playing guitar, I’m not a singer either. Don’t laugh, Kate! But everyone on the bus was, and so when we were doing this one-on-one cover everyone was singing their beautiful part and then we got to me and I started singing and I could hear the chuckles behind me about my efforts. And Cameron runs into the bus and he says, “I don’t care what that does! Sing along with all you’ve got! I love this. Love this energy. Give me all of this.

And so I let it go, and there was a huge release that was mine, maybe even more than Russell’s at that point. And just being able, for a character so guarded in so many of his different relationships, to finally have a moment where he could be exuberant in front of them and rather generous. I remember it was happy.

Hudson: I just remember being on that bus and having my Polaroid camera and singing. I loved it when we were all together. This song, this moment really personifies what those moments as a whole felt to me making the movie.

Fugit: Yet if I go to a bar or a club where there is a DJ or there is some kind of jukebox or something, someone ends up playing “Tiny Dancer”. And just look at me. until I noticed. [laughs]

Hudson: I feel really embarrassed every time this happens.

Crudup: [jokingly] I keep it as a ringtone.


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