THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Almost Famous' 22 years later

THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Almost Famous' 22 years later
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  • Cameron Crowe's iconic coming-of-age film "Almost Famous" debuted in theaters 22 years ago.

  • The film helped launch the careers of Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit, Zooey Deschanel, and Billy Crudup.

  • Other actors, like Jimmy Fallon, Rainn Wilson, and Jay Baruchel, also went on to make it big.

Penny Lane, the fearless leader of the Band-Aids, was Kate Hudson's breakout role.

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Kate Hudson in "Almost Famous."YouTube screengrab

Before "Almost Famous," actress Kate Hudson had appeared in a few movies, like "Gossip," and on a couple of TV shows, but Penny Lane was the role that truly launched her career.

The role earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe.

Following her performance as Penny Lane, Hudson has continued to act in successful films.

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Kate Hudson at the 2020 Oscars after-party.Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Throughout the 2000s Hudson went on to star in the rom-coms "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "Bride Wars," "You, Me and Dupree," and "Something Borrowed." She also had a recurring role on the musical comedy series "Glee."

Although she continues to act, according to Forbes, Hudson has shifted some of her focus to growing her athleisure clothing brand, Fabletics, which she cofounded in 2013.

The actress more recently appeared in "Music" and on the Apple TV+ series "Truth Be Told."

She's set to appear in "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" later this year.

Patrick Fugit starred as 15-year-old journalist William Miller.

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Patrick Fugit in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

At the time of his casting, Patrick Fugit was 16 years old and had just a few TV movie and series credits to his name.

Following "Almost Famous," Fugit continued to grow as an actor.

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Patrick Fugit is still acting today.Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

After the 2000 film, Fugit earned notable roles in other cult-classic films like "White Oleander," "Saved!" and "Wristcutters: A Love Story." He later reunited with "Almost Famous" director Crowe in 2011 for "We Bought a Zoo."

In more recent years, the actor has appeared in successful movies including "Gone Girl" and "First Man," and he's also worked on TV series like Cinemax's "Outcast" and USA's "Treadstone."

Fugit's latest major film credit was starring in the horror movie "My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To."

Billy Crudup was already a fairly successful actor when he landed the role of Stillwater's guitarist, Russell Hammond.

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Billy Crudup in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Prior to "Almost Famous," Billy Crudup was best known for his 1997 role as long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine in "Without Limits" and for voicing Ashitaka in the English dub of the anime "Princess Mononoke."

He'd also starred in the original cast of the Broadway revival "The Three Sisters" in 1997.

Crudup has gone on to an impressive career on the screen and the stage.

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Billy Crudup is also a Broadway actor.DANNY MOLOSHOK/Reuters

After "Almost Famous," the actor went on to land major roles in successful films like "Big Fish," "Mission Impossible: III," "The Good Shepherd," "Watchmen," "Public Enemies," and "Eat Pray Love."

He also appeared in "Spotlight," "Jackie," "Where'd You Go Bernadette," and "Zack Snyder's Justice League."

The native New Yorker continued his work on Broadway in "The Elephant Man," "Arcadia," and "Waiting for Godot," among other productions. His work on the stage has earned him three Tony Award nominations and one win.

He's recently been starring as Cory Ellison on the Apple TV+ series "The Morning Show."

Jason Lee was Jeff Bebe, Stillwater's lead singer.

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Jason Lee in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

At the time, Jason Lee was best known in Hollywood for working with director Kevin Smith on 1990s indie films like "Mallrats" and "Chasing Amy."

Before he started acting, Lee also had a successful career as a professional skateboarder in the 1980s.

Over the past two decades, Lee has continued to find success as an actor on TV and in films.

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Jason Lee on the Hallmark Hall of Fame red carpet in 2015.Getty Images

Lee is best known today for his starring role as Earl Hickey on the NBC series "My Name Is Earl," which earned him Golden Globe nominations in 2006 and 2007.

He continued his film career in hits like "Vanilla Sky," "The Ballad of Jack and Rose," the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" franchise, and "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot."

The actor also went on to a successful voice-acting career, voicing Syndrome in Pixar's "The Incredibles," Bones in Sony's "Monster House," and the title character in Disney's "Underdog." More recently, the actor worked on Cartoon Network's "We Bare Bears" and the Paramount+ series "The Harper House."

In addition to acting, Lee remains involved in other business ventures, including a photography site, a brewpub, and his company Stereo Skateboards.

Frances McDormand was already a well-known and respected actress when she was cast as William's overprotective mother.

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Frances McDormand in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Before landing the role in "Almost Famous," Frances McDormand had nearly two decades of acting experience under her belt.

She was best known for her roles in "Raising Arizona," "Mississippi Burning," and "Fargo," which won her an Oscar.

The actress also had a successful career on the stage, appearing in the Broadway shows "Awake and Sing!" and "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Since "Almost Famous," McDormand has continued to enjoy a highly successful acting career.

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Frances McDormand at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2018.Vince Bucci/Invision/AP

McDormand went on to work on notable films like "Something's Gotta Give," "Burn After Reading," "Hail, Caesar!" and "Isle of Dogs."

She also starred on the HBO miniseries "Olive Kitteridge," which earned her an Emmy in 2015.

McDormand continued her career on Broadway in "The Country Girl" and "Good People," which earned her a Tony award.

The decorated actress also went on to earn a second Academy Award in 2018 for her starring performance in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri."

More recently, McDormand was on Amazon Prime/BBC 2's "Good Omens," and she starred in "Nomadland" and "The Tragedy of Macbeth."

Terry Chen earned his first breakout film role playing Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres.

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Terry Chen in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

At the time, Terry Chen had a few credits to his name, which mostly consisted of minor parts on TV series and small roles in movies like "Romeo Must Die."

Chen went on to build a successful acting career on the big and small screens.

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Terry Chen has found success on TV and in films.Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

After "Almost Famous," Chen went on to films like "40 Days and 40 Nights," "I, Robot," "Snakes on a Plane," "The A-Team," "The Cabin in the Woods," and "Godzilla."

He's also had a successful career on TV, with credits on shows including Syfy's "Battlestar Galactica," A&E's "Bates Motel," Netflix's "House of Cards," Netflix's "Jessica Jones," and Lifetime/Hulu's "Unreal."

Chen also appeared in "Coffee and Kareem," in "Falling," and on ABC's "A Million Little Things."

Most recently, he acted on Amazon Prime's "The Lake."

Rainn Wilson had a small role as David Felton, one of the editors at Rolling Stone.

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Rainn Wilson in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Prior to "Almost Famous," Rainn Wilson had stage-acting experience on and off Broadway, and he appeared in the 1999 comedy "Galaxy Quest."

Wilson continues to act today and is best known for his roles on television.

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Rainn Wilson is well known for playing Dwight on "The Office."MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters

Today, Wilson is best known for his nine-season run as Dwight Schrute on the award-winning NBC comedy, "The Office." But he also has credits on notable shows like HBO's "Six Feet Under" and CBS' "Mom."

The comedic actor continued his film career in "My Super-Ex Girlfriend," "Juno," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," and "The Meg."

Wilson also cofounded the media company SoulPancake in 2009 and published his memoir, "The Bassoon King," in 2015.

He's recently worked on a few new TV series, including Channel 4's "Utopia," and he's set to appear in "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story" later this year.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was music critic Lester Bangs.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Almost Famous."YouTube screengrab

At the time, Philip Seymour Hoffman was already a familiar face in Hollywood. He was best known for his roles in "Twister," "Boogie Nights," "The Big Lebowski," and "Magnolia."

Hoffman spent the decade after "Almost Famous" delivering critically acclaimed performances in both independent films and blockbuster hits.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman died in 2014.REUTERS/Max Rossi

Hoffman continued his successful career in "Charlie Wilson's War," "Doubt," and "Capote" — all of which earned him Academy Award nominations.

The actor also starred in "The Ides of March," "Moneyball," "The Master," and "The Hunger Games" series. 

Hoffman died by apparent drug overdose in 2014 at the age of 46.

Zooey Deschanel was 20 years old when she played William's older sister, Anita Miller.

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Zooey Deschanel in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Prior to "Almost Famous," Zooey Deschanel had a few acting credits, including 1999's "Mumford" alongside Lee.

Today, Deschanel is a highly accomplished actress, musician, writer, and businesswoman.

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Zooey Deschanel is known for her work on TV.Timothy Hiatt/Getty

After "Almost Famous," Deschanel appeared in several notable films, including "Elf," "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," "Yes Man," "500 Days of Summer," and "Rock the Casbah."

She later went on to star as Jess on the hit Fox comedy "New Girl," which made her a household name.

In addition to acting, the Los Angeles native founded the women-centered media company Hello Giggles in 2011. She's also an accomplished musician, performing as half of the folk duo She & Him since the early 2000s.

Most recently, Deschanel voiced a character in the "Trolls" franchise.

Jay Baruchel was just starting his career when he was cast in "Almost Famous."

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Jay Baruchel in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Prior to the 2000 film, 18-year-old Jay Baruchel had appeared on the Canadian YTV series "My Hometown" and "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

Additionally, he had a few small movie roles under his belt.

Baruchel is now a very successful comedic actor.

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Jay Baruchel is still acting in films and on TV.MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters

Over the past two decades, Baruchel continued his TV career on hit shows like Fox's "Undeclared." He also went on to act in the award-winning film "Million Dollar Baby."

However, the actor is now better known for his work in cult-classic comedies like "Knocked Up," "Tropic Thunder," "She's Out of My League," and "This Is the End." He also voiced Hiccup in the popular "How to Train Your Dragon" series.

More recently, Baruchel appeared on the Fox series "The Moodys."

Pauley Perrette had a short appearance as passionate radio DJ Alice Wisdom.

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Pauley Perrette in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

At the time, Pauley Perrette had a few TV and movie credits to her name, including guest appearances on NBC's "Fraiser" and ABC's "The Drew Carey Show."

Today, Perrette is best known for her work on television.

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Pauley Perrette starred on the hit CBS crime show, "NCIS."JC Olivera/Getty Images

After "Almost Famous," Perrette found mainstream success starring as forensic scientist Abby Sciuto on the CBS crime drama "NCIS."

In addition to acting work, she's also had a career in music as a member of the punk-rock band Lo-Ball in the early 2000s.

Most recently, the actress starred on the CBS comedy "Broke."

Jimmy Fallon made his film debut as Dennis Hope.

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Jimmy Fallon in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Before landing a role in the 2000 film, Jimmy Fallon was best known for being a cast member on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

Fallon is now one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

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Jimmy Fallon has his own talk show and has continued to act in films.ANDREW KELLY/Reuters

Throughout the early aughts, Fallon continued to work on "Saturday Night Live."

He went on to become a household name after he was appointed the host of "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," in 2009. The comedian held that post until he took over hosting duties from Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" in 2014.

As of 2020, his Emmy-nominated talk show is in its seventh season and remains a favorite among US audiences.

In addition to TV work, the actor has appeared in a few films like "Taxi," "Fever Pitch," "Whip It," and "Jurassic World."

Fallon recently appeared as himself on Hulu's "Only Murders in the Building" and in "Marry Me."

Michael Angarano was in the early stages of his career when he played 11-year-old William.

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Michael Angarano in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

At the time, Michael Angarano had appeared as a child actor in the 1990s films "For Richer or Poorer" and "Music of the Heart," among other film and TV credits.

Angarano has continued his career on the screen.

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Michael Angarano still acts in films and on TV.Willy Sanjuan/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

After playing young William, Angarano went on to appear in the films "Little Secrets," "Sky High," "One Last Thing," "The Final Season," and "The Art of Getting By."

He's also found success on TV, with credits on Fox's "24," Cinemax's "The Knick," NBC's "Will and Grace," NBC's "This Is Us," and HBO Max's "Minx."

Anna Paquin was no stranger to the screen when she was cast as Polexia Aphrodisia.

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Anna Paquin in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

New Zealand-Canadian Anna Paquin had been acting in films since the age of 11 — including "Jane Eyre," "She's All That," and "X-Men" — and had earned an Academy Award for her role in the 1993 film "The Piano" before appearing in "Almost Famous."

Paquin is still a successful actress today.

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Anna Paquin at the 2020 Oscars after-party.DANNY MOLOSHOK/Reuters

Throughout the two decades following "Almost Famous," Paquin has appeared in numerous high-profile films.

She continued her role as Rogue in the "X-Men" franchise, and she appeared in movies like "Blue State," "Scream 4," and "The Irishman."

The actress also went on to play Sookie Stackhouse on the critically acclaimed HBO series "True Blood," which ran for seven seasons.

More recently, Paquin appeared on CBC/Netflix's "Alias Grace," Showtime's "The Affair," and Pop's "Flack."

Bijou Phillips had a small part in the film as Estrella Starr.

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Bijou Phillips in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Before "Almost Famous," Bijou Phillips was primarily known for her modeling work, but she also had a few film credits under her belt.

Over the years, Phillips continued to do a little acting in films and on TV.

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Bijou Phillips on the red carpet in 2016.Todd Williamson/Getty Images for International Documentary Association

After "Almost Famous," Phillips continued to act in films like "Havoc," "What We Do Is Secret," and "Black Limousine."

But she is perhaps more recognizable from her run as Lucy Carlyle on Fox's "Raising Hope."

Fairuza Balk was Sapphire in "Almost Famous."

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Fairuza Balk in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Before the movie, Fairuza Balk had appeared in "Return to Oz," "Gas Food Lodging," and "The Waterboy," among other films.

Over the years, Balk continued to act in various movies and on TV shows.

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Fairuza Balk attending a movie premiere in 2016.John Salangsang/Invision/AP

Since appearing in the 2000 film, her notable credits include "Wild Tigers I Have Known," "Humboldt County," "August Falls," and "Trespassers."

On TV, the actress worked on Cartoon Network's "Justice League" and Showtime's "Ray Donovan." She also recently appeared on Amazon Prime's "Paradise City."

In addition to acting, Balk releases music and maintains a blog.

Mark Kozelek was cast as Larry Fellows, the Stillwater bass player.

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Mark Kozelek in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

"Almost Famous" was Mark Kozelek's first acting role, but he was already a relatively well-known musician when he landed the role.

Today, Kozelek is focused exclusively on his music career.

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Mark Kozelek is a successful musician.Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Although Kozelek did go on to appear in "Vanilla Sky," "Shopgirl," and "Youth," he's primarily spent the last 20 years growing his successful music career.

So far, he's contributed to more than 20 different studio albums, including his work with the bands Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters and as a solo artist.

Noah Taylor played Dick Roswell, Stillwater's manager.

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Noah Taylor in "Almost Famous."DreamWorks

Prior to this role, Noah Taylor was already a relatively experienced actor, with credits in films like "Lover Boy," "Flirting," and "Life in the Fast Lane."

Taylor continues to act in film and on TV.

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Noah Taylor is well known for his recurring role on "Game of Thrones."Mark Blinch/Reuters

Taylor went on to appear in films including "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "Vanilla Sky," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Edge of Tomorrow," "Paddington 2," and "Skyscraper."

He also gained fame on TV, playing recurring roles on HBO's "Game of Thrones," BBC's "Peaky Blinders," and AMC's "Preacher."

Additionally, Taylor plays the french horn, guitar, and piano for several rock bands.

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