Kate Hudson Felt The 'Magic' Of Almost Famous From The Very First Table Read

You don't have to love rock & roll to love "Almost Famous," but it helps. From the early days when DJ Alan Freed first popularized the term to the pinnacle of rock in the 1970s, bands like Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers had become mythic figures that were worshipped by hardcore fans. "Rolling Stone" magazine had worldwide circulation and was considered a legitimate, respectable periodical that showcased these groups without compromising journalistic integrity. Interviews with luminaries like John Lennon and Pete Townsend helped to launch the magazine into the cultural mainstream while also keeping one foot in the world of the hippie underground.

"Rolling Stone" founder Jann Wenner's new memoir, "Like a Rolling Stone," vividly chronicles the rise of the legendary rag, romanticizing the music and highlighting the astounding team of writers that helped define the voice of a generation. The mad musings of Hunter S. Thompson leaped off the pages and the electric event reports from San Francisco-based writer Ben Fong-Torres became the new standard for live concert coverage. 

Wenner's autobiography also talks about a young, brash kid named Cameron Crowe who wound up going on the road with some of the biggest bands on the planet. Crowe went on to great success with "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Jerry Maguire," and then he finally came back to his experiences at "Rolling Stone" with "Almost Famous," a deeply personal account about the fictional band Stillwater and their adventures on tour. "Almost Famous" is now considered a rock classic and Crowe went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Before Kate Hudson went on to star in a string of vapid romantic comedies (I love them, too), she gave the performance of a lifetime as groupie (sorry, Band-Aid!) Penny Lane.

'I'll never forget it'

For the 20th anniversary, Crowe, Hudson, and the rest of the cast looked back on the "magical" time making the film during a reunion hosted by Rolling Stone writer Brian Hiatt and podcast host James Andrew Miller. Once the cast came together again for the 20th-anniversary panel, it became clear that the unmistakable chemistry between the actors was still very much alive and seemed to make Hudson, in particular, reflect on the first time she read the script with co-stars Jason Lee (the frontman) and Billy Crudup (the guitarist with mystique) in attendance:

"I'll never forget it. It might be something on my deathbed, like when your life flashes before your eyes [...] it was all of us in the room and Jason Lee was being a total doofus, funny guy, and Billy was, like, very serious and trying to figure out his thing, and we were all just having the most — I can't explain how much fun it was but it just felt like a magical group of people."

Watching "Almost Famous" over and over again (as I have), there's no denying how special the experience must have been for everyone involved — it's all there on the screen. They captured the mood of the era and brought 1973 to life in a remarkable way. Cameron Crowe loves the film so much he's even turned it into a new Broadway musical

In the final moments of the reunion panel, Crowe spoke about all the little things that had to come together to make "Almost Famous" what it became, from finding lead actor Patrick Fugit at the last minute to Hudson accidentally becoming the heart of the film. (That single tear drop when Penny asks, "What kind of beer?" still gets me.)

"These are all beautiful pieces of serendipity," Crowe said. "It adds up to something magical and never ceases to throw me to see what happened there when we were all together there doing it." It was all happening.