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Cameron Crowe talks casting Philip Seymour Hoffman in 'Almost Famous'

As part of its cover story on Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rolling Stone interviewed Cameron Crowe about the late actor’s role in Almost Famous. In the film, Hoffman played Lester Bangs, a character based on the real-life music journalist (who wrote frequently for Rolling Stone) . “You could see a glint in his eye,” Crowe says of Hoffman when the actor came to L.A. to rehearse. “He already knew this character.”

Crowe initially thought rehearsals would take two days, but Hoffman told him, “You may only need a couple of hours.” The director recalls watching video interviews of Bangs with Hoffman as the actor tried to emulate the writer’s mannerisms and wit. Afterwards, they were going over one of the scenes from Almost Famous when Crowe realized Hoffman was ready for the film: “I looked at the clock and it was two hours exactly. And [Hoffman] laughed and said, ‘Told ya.’”

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