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Almost Famous

The writer behind Almost Famous reveals the iconic film’s origin story

Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age film was intended as an article for Live! magazine 23 years ago

It’s been nearly 20 years since the release of director-writer Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical, coming-of-age classic Almost Famous, which – as well as providing some invaluable on-screen fashion moments – follows 15-year-old music fan William as he goes on assignment with Rolling Stone Magazine to interview an up-and-coming band, Stillwater. While the film, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2001, has long been considered a nostalgic look at Crowe’s own experiences as a journalist at Rolling Stone in the 1970s, he has now shared the original story that inspired the film: an unpublished piece he wrote for Live! Magazine in 1996.

According to TheWrap, where the piece has now been published, the article was originally meant as a short account on a live event for the magazine’s “Performance Past” section. But when Crowe submitted 3,000 words instead of the requested 750, the magazine began discussing whether they should edit the piece down to fit its allocated spot.

Steve Pond, former editor of Live! told TheWrap: “Cameron politely but firmly said that if the piece was going to be cut, he’d rather it didn’t run. And he insisted that if we didn’t run it, that was fine with him. Writing about his relationship with his mother and with rock ‘n’ roll had given him an idea for a screenplay he wanted to write.”

Crowe has shared the full article with TheWrap, which begins: “‘There will be absolutely no rock music in our house.’ With those epic words, my mother and father ushered in 1968. My mom was an English teacher, and early on she spotted the threat that rock posed to all those finely-bound books lining our cabinets. My sister and I lobbied hard, assuring them that drugs and promiscuous sex were not what our music was about. Rock was our poetry. Yes, came her reply, but ‘it’s the poetry of drugs and promiscuous sex!’ Of course she was right, but few were as good at feigning outrage as my sister and me.”

The announcement coincides with the opening of the Almost Famous musical last weekend. You can read Crowe’s article here.