Cameron Crowe Explains Neil Young's Scrapped Cameo in 'Almost Famous'

He was supposed to play Stillwater guitarist Russell Hammond's estranged father

BY Alex HudsonPublished Aug 24, 2020

Cameron Crowe's beloved 2000 film Almost Famous has a star-studded supporting cast, including small roles from Jimmy Fallon, Rainn Wilson, Marc Maron, Peter Frampton and more. Now, Crowe has shared the details of another scrapped cameo: Neil Young.

Speaking with Rolling Stone about Almost Famous's 20th anniversary, Crowe explained that Young was supposed to play Harry Hammond, the estranged father of Stillwater guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). Crowe said, "They're complimenting the show, but the young bride is looking at Crudup, and he's looking at her; and he realizes that the father is being played and is piggybacking on his [son's] success. It's a heartbreaking moment about what success does to an estranged parent."

He clarified that this was "right after the T-shirt scene," presumably referring to the moment when Stillwater are unhappy with their T-shirt design. Crowe read out a section from the script, which went like this:

Russell walks swiftly past a happy silver-haired man who holds court with beer in hand. He dresses too young for his age. Late fifties. He is Dad. 

Russell, dutifully: "Hello, Harry."
Dad introduces a woman much younger, who eyes Russell hungrily.
"He got all the good genes, huh?" says Neil Young. "Meet Diedre. We're getting married in July."

Young apparently had gone through wardrobe and everything before cancelling the morning of the shoot. He didn't totally screw over Crowe, however — he personally found and mixed the version of "Cortez the Killer" that appears in the film.

Almost Famous is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the coming weeks. The film had its TIFF premiere on September 8, 2000, before receiving a wide release on September 13.

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