What The Cast Of Almost Famous Looks Like Today

When it comes to classic movies of the 2000s, few are quite as iconic as "Almost Famous." The film follows a teenage music journalist, William (Patrick Fugit), who lands a gig writing a feature on the band Stillwater for Rolling Stone. While writing the piece, he meets Russell (Billy Crudup), the band's lead singer, and Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a hardcore groupie. The film is a coming-of-age tale that piles on the nostalgia for the bygone days of '70s rock and roll.

With an all-star cast that also includes Frances McDormand, Anna Paquin, Zooey Deschanel, and Jimmy Fallon, "Almost Famous" is one of those movies that sticks with you long after you see it. As of 2023, the film is 23 years old. If you watched this film when you were young, you may be wondering what became of the cast. Let's take a look at what they are all up to today.

Billy Crudup married a fellow actor and is starring on The Morning Show

Billy Crudup took on the role of Russell, the hedonistic, charismatic frontman of Stillwater. Crudup had previously starred in a number of films including "Sleepers" and "Waking the Dead," but after "Almost Famous," his career really took off. He starred in "Big Fish," "Stage Beauty," "Mission: Impossible III," "Eat Pray Love," "Spotlight," "Jackie," and more. Recently, Crudup has found a new surge of popularity thanks to his role as Cory Ellison on the Apple TV hit, "The Morning Show."

In spite of his long and successful career, Crudup never quite became a household name. In fact, the Los Angeles Times once called him "the leading man who almost was." However, he's perfectly content with his level of celebrity. "I grew up with an affection for great actors — Al Pacino, Meryl Streep," he told The Guardian. He simply wanted to have a stable career doing what he loved. 

In 2023, Crudup tied the knot with his girlfriend, fellow actor Naomi Watts. He has a son, William, from his previous relationship with Mary-Louise Parker.

Kate Hudson was an It-girl of the 2000s before starring in Glass Onion

Kate Hudson plays Penny lane, one of the most memorable characters in "Almost Famous." The character is based on a real-life groupie who followed big rock groups around on tour in the '70s. The role was one of Hudson's first — she had previously starred in "About Adam," "Dr. T & the Women," and a few others. However, it was "Almost Famous" that proved to be her big break — she even earned an Oscar nomination for the role. Before long, Hudson was one of the naughties' it-girls, starring in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "Alex & Emma," "Raising Helen," "Fool's Gold," and "Bride Wars."

In 2022, Hudson came roaring back into the spotlight with a role in "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery." In 2023, Hudson will be releasing an album. In a way, it feels like she has finally come into her own — she's grown up and learned how to deal with the pressures of her industry. "I feel more confident, I don't feel as raw," she told The Independent in 2022. "If [my work is] rejected, I'm not gonna die. Ten years ago? Five? I'd have felt devastated if I put it out and it wasn't received warmly. But now I feel stronger." Hopefully, that means we'll be seeing even more of her in the years to come as the Kate Hudson renaissance continues.

Patrick Fugit starred in Gone Girl and Love & Death

As William, the young journalist who lands a gig with Rolling Stone, Patrick Fugit gave an exceptional breakout performance — as one Collider reviewer noted, he gave the part a "beautiful, guileless innocence." The film was practically his first role, but it kick-started a long, busy career. Fugit did a stint on "ER," a guest role on "House M.D.," and a role in "We Bought a Zoo." Soon after, he played a police officer in "Gone Girl" and then another police officer in "Babylon." In 2023, Fugit starred alongside Elizabeth Olsen in "Love & Death."

Now, after a long career, Fugit looks back on "Almost Famous" as his intro to the world of filmmaking and even credits the film with his current success. "I live in Los Angeles, and I'm able to support myself by acting in film and TV," he told Observer. "And that's exactly what I had in mind all the way back in grade school. That was the plan, and 'Almost Famous' and Cameron and Gail Leven and Andrew Brown, who are the casting directors, really gifted me the opportunity to do that and to keep doing that, so I am always grateful to talk about 'Almost Famous,' particularly to people who it resonates with."

Frances McDormand is now an Oscar-winning actor

Frances McDormand played Elaine Miller, William's protective, nervous mother, who worried about his time with the band. Her previous work included an Oscar-winning turn in "Fargo," a role in "Primal Fear," and the live-action adaptation of "Madeline." Over the past few decades, McDormand has become one of the industry's most revered actors, starring in Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," "Hail, Ceasar!," "The French Dispatch," and "Women Talking." In recent years, she's also starred in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" and "Nomadland," both roles that won her Oscars.

As McDormand explained in an interview with The Guardian in 2021, she has become famous for defying gendered stereotypes with her performances. "I have the opportunity to change the way people look at [women]," she said. "Even if I wasn't consciously doing that, it would happen anyway, just because of how I present as a woman, or as a person. I present in a way that's not stereotypical, even if I'm playing a stereotypical role." 

McDormand is married to director Joel Coen and the pair have an adopted son, Pedro, from Paraguay.

Jason Lee starred in My Name Is Earl and has done voice acting

In "Almost Famous," Jason Lee plays Jeff Bebe, the band's lead singer, who ends up fighting with Russell. Lee had previously appeared in "Mallrats" and "Chasing Amy." He also had a career as a pro skateboarder. He went on to appear in "Heartbreakers," "A Guy Thing," "Drop Dead Sexy," and "Alvin and the Chipmunks." His biggest role was as the titular character in "My Name Is Earl." In more recent years, Lee's career has been filled with voice-over roles. His voice can be heard in "Monster House," "American Dad!" "Lego the Incredibles," and "The Harper House."

In addition to acting, Lee is now a prolific photographer. "I started just roaming America and documenting its weirdness and its strange beauty," Lee told The Guardian in 2021. "That's been going on now for 14 years." He added, "Some people go hiking, some people go on hunting expeditions or whatever, I jump in my car with my camera gear, drive around, and shoot photos." Lee has released a number of photography books. He lives in California with his wife Ceren Alkaç and their three children. He also has another son from a previous relationship.

Zooey Deschanel found fame on New Girl and Physical

These days, we all know Zooey Deschanel as an OG manic pixie dream girl thanks to her roles in "500 Days of Summer" and "New Girl." However, before she shot to fame, Deschanel got her start as Anita, William's rebellious older sister, in "Almost Famous."

"I was 19 when I did this movie, I left college to do it," she said to Entertainment Tonight, adding, "My mom and dad didn't want me auditioning for professional jobs until I could drive myself." This was one of her first big roles and it led to her becoming a household name. Even though Deschanel found fame during the era of the manic pixie dream girl, she's now eager to shed the label. "I'm not a girl. I'm a woman," she told The Guardian in 2022. "It doesn't hurt my feelings, but it's a way of making a woman one-dimensional, and I'm not one-dimensional."

Deschanel is engaged to "Property Brothers" star Jonathan Scott as of 2023.

Michael Angarano starred in This Is Us and Oppenheimer

In "Almost Famous," Michael Angarano played the younger version of William. Angarano had previously worked as a child actor, appearing in dozens of projects, including "As the World Turns" and "Music of the Heart." As Angarano grew up, he continued acting. He appeared in "Seabiscuit," "Sky High," "24," "Gentlemen Broncos," "Wild Card," and "Will & Grace," before landing bigger roles in "This Is Us," "Minx," and "Oppenheimer."

"I worked from the age of 5 1/2, or 6, to about 20," he told journalist Caroline Simpson in 2019. "From 20 to 22, the writers' strike happened and I didn't work. Once high school ended for me, I was relieved, as the No. 1 source of anxiety in my life up until I was about 18 was keeping up to date with my curriculum at school, and so I never wanted to go to college because I knew I wanted to go into film." Angarano went on to explain that after writing and directing his film "Avenues," he hopes to spend more time behind the camera in the future. "[B]ut I'm in no huge rush and I am aware that these things take time," he added. As of 2019, Angarano lives in Los Angeles.

Anna Paquin's career continued to flourish with True Blood and numerous other TV roles

Anna Paquin shot to fame as a young actor in 1993 after winning an Oscar for her first-ever role in "The Piano." She went on to star in "Fly Away Home," "She's All That," and "X-Men," before playing a groupie named Polexia in "Almost Famous." Her career continued to flourish with roles in "The Squid and the Whale," "Scream 4," and "Margaret." From 2008 to 2014, she starred on "True Blood" as Sookie. She then starred in "The Irishman" in 2019 and the TV series "Flack." 

As Paquin later told People of "Almost Famous," "Cameron Crowe is such an amazing director ... but obviously you never really know when you're working on something just how much of an impact it's going to have or not, so it's always really fun when people latch onto things. Plus, it's just a really fun movie." She added that she and co-star Patrick Fugit had to study on set because they were the only two actors in the cast who were still in school.

Paquin is married to her "True Blood" co-star Stephen Moyer and the pair have twins, Charlie and Poppy.

Fairuza Balk was a child star who kept her career going

Fairuza Balk played Sapphire, another member of Penny Lane's groupie gang. Like many of the other young actors, Balk had already found fame as a child and teenage actor, having starred in "Return to Oz," "American History X," and "The Craft" several years earlier. Despite her busy career in the '90s, she hasn't appeared in as many films in recent years. As the actor told the Los Angeles Times in 2020, she actually decided to step away from the spotlight in her 20s. "In my late 20s I stepped away from doing a lot of press because people just kept taking my words and rearranging them the wrong way and just depicting me as this crazy bad girl and it just really got old," she said. "They weren't really listening to what I was actually saying, they just collected sound bites from other interviews that had misquoted me."

Nevertheless, Balk has kept busy. In 2015, she starred on "Ray Donovan." Then, in 2020, she reprised her famous role from "The Craft" in the sequel, "The Craft: Legacy." Her goal is to keep on acting: "[H]opefully, I'll be able to do [it] for the rest of my life," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Noah Taylor is still busy acting and appeared on Game of Thrones

Noah Taylor's role in "Almost Famous" was as Dick Roswell, the band Stillwater's manager. Since then, the actor has appeared in a number of high-profile projects. He played Bryce, Lara Croft's computer geek friend in the "Tomb Raider" franchise. he also played Mr. Bucket, Charlie's father, in 2005's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." In 2012, he took on a guest role in "The Borgias." Then, from 2013 to 2014, he guest starred on "Game of Thrones" as the expert hunter Locke. Soon after that came a stint on "Peaky Blinders" as Darby, the gang leader and series villain. You might have also spotted him as Phibs, the restaurant critic inmate who helps Paddington escape in the much-loved "Paddington 2."

More recently, Taylor played yet another big TV role as Hetman on the Apple TV series "Foundation." Clearly, Taylor has become one of those actors that just keeps popping up in everything! And we can't wait to spot him in another hit soon.

Jimmy Fallon hosts The Tonight Show

Back when Jimmy Fallon was still known as an actor rather than a talk show host, he had a small role in "Almost Famous," playing manager Dennis Hope. With his long hair, oversized glasses, and mustache, he's almost unrecognizable in the role. Playing Dennis was one of Fallon's first big gigs after he landed a spot on "Saturday Night Live" in 1998. It was followed by other acting roles in "Band of Brothers," "Anything Else," "Fever Pitch," and more. 

However, in 2013, his career took a turn when he took over hosting duties from Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show." Since then, Fallon has been at the helm of the talk show and has become a household name. However, in 2023, Fallon's time as the host of "The Tonight Show" was called into question when 16 current and former employees came forward stating that he hadn't treated them fairly on set and had created a toxic environment, as reported by Rolling Stone. Fallon proceeded to apologize to those who complained in a private Zoom call.

Bijou Phillips stopped acting in 2013 and is in the news as the wife of Danny Masterson

In "Almost Famous," Bijou Phillips played Estrella Starr, another groupie. It was her first big role and led to parts in "Havoc," "Venom," "CSI," "Bully," "Hostel: Part II," and "Law & Order." Despite a successful career, Phillips stopped acting 13 years after the release of "Almost Famous" in 2013.

One of the main reasons she left acting behind was because of her health. In 2017, the former actor's rep told TMZ, "Bijou was born with small kidneys and has been quietly dealing with kidney disease for the last five years, including being on the transplant list. In an effort to heal her body, she has led a stress-free life with a vegan diet, which eventually wasn't enough, and she's been privately having dialysis." She eventually had a transplant.

More recently, Phillips has reappeared in the headlines after her husband, actor Danny Masterson, was convicted of rape and given a 30-year sentence in 2023. Both Scientologists, Phillips and Masterson share a daughter, Fianna. According to a friend who spoke to the Daily Mail, Phillips feels that dealing with her husband's sentence is like "grieving a death." 

Rainn Wilson starred in The Office and continued making comedies

These days, most of us probably know Rainn Wilson as Dwight, the nerdy nemesis of Jim in the long-running sitcom "The Office." However, before he was Dwight, Wilson appeared in "Almost Famous" as David Felton, the editor of Rolling Stone. It was one of his first roles. Soon after, he appeared in "Six Feet Under," "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," "Juno," and of course, "The Office." That was followed by a number of film roles, including a part in "The Meg" and 2022's "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story."

Wilson is still best remembered as Dwight — and it makes sense. After all, he was a perfect fit for the character. "I related to Dwight," he later told The Independent. "You can't quite put your finger on what he is. He's a nerd-bully. He's a suck-up but he's very independent. There are all these interesting dichotomies that are so rare when you're creating a comedic sidekick, but I knew all that from my alienated suburban Seattle background in the '70s. I had friends that both played Dungeons and Dragons and drove muscle cars. I knew that world." No wonder his performance as Dwight will go down in history!

Wilson now lives with his wife, Holiday Reinhorn and their son, Walter.