He Played William in "Almost Famous." See Patrick Fugit Now at 39.
The actor played his breakout role when he was 16 years old.
It's been over 20 years since Patrick Fugit made his film debut as William Miller in the Cameron Crowe rock journalist dramedy Almost Famous. The rising star's character was loosely based on Crowe's real experience writing for Rolling Stone magazine when he was just 16 years old. So, in the movie, William leaves home against his protective mother's (Frances McDormand) wishes to go on tour with a fictional rock band to write a feature on them. Along the way, he gets advice from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's Lester Bangs, develops a friendship with the band's restless guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), falls in love with "Band Aid" Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), and has his aura declared purple.
Though Almost Famous was released in 2000, early in his career, Fugit still feels close to the movie, telling Interview in 2016, "I love watching that film. There's so much of that film that I did on purpose because we'd prepared it, but there's also so much of that film that's just naturally coming out of me as a 16-year-old in that time and in those circumstances."
Read on to learn what the former child actor has done since touring the country with Stillwater.
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He learned from his IRL crush on Hudson.
One key story element of Almost Famous is that William is enamored with Penny, only to learn down the line that she's far from the carefree woman he initially thinks she is. Of course, teenage Fugit also developed a real crush on Hudson when they were working together, as he explained to Vulture in 2020.
"I was not slick. I was not good at concealing [my crush], nor was I good at trying to capitalize on it. I was just nervous. So she would kind of [expletive] with me, knowing that I was crushing on her.
Surrounded by beautiful young actors, his feelings weren't limited to just Hudson. Fugit told the outlet that he initially fancied Anna Paquin, who played another Band Aid, Polexia.
"Then I had a crush on Fairuza [Balk, who played Sapphire]," the actor continued. "And then I had a crush on one of the other girls that played one of the other Band Aids. I was a fickle 16-year-old. But I got to know Kate, and Kate treated me very much like a younger brother, and after a while I just didn't see her in that way anymore. We were scene partners. It was a big lesson for me, separating my actual feelings from what's happening in the story. It can be confusing for a lot of actors, but especially a hormonal 16-year-old boy."
He didn't jump right into another project.
After Almost Famous, Fugit bided his time waiting for another role that interested him. "There were definitely opportunities for me to work when I was 17, 18, but a lot of it was very similar to Almost Famous," he told Interview. I think for probably a year and a half, we were picking and choosing to see what came along. Then a Swedish director named Jonas Akerlund came through and he had this movie called Spun about meth addicts, which was really cool. I was into playing that part; it was a huge tonal shift from the character that I had done prior. There was that, and then a movie called White Oleander, which I shot at the same time. They were different characters and they were cool projects, and now and then there'd be a gap in between."
He's still acting in movies and on TV.
Though he's picky about his parts, Fugit has racked up dozens of credits since his breakout role. In film, in addition to Spun and White Oleander, he's appeared in Saved!, Wristcutters: A Love Story, We Bought a Zoo, Gone Girl, First Man, and most recently, 2020's My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To, among others. On TV, he guest starred in three episodes of ER and on House, starred in Outcast from 2016 to 2018, and recurred in 2019's Treadstone. Next up is the miniseries Love and Death from Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley.
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He's run into Billy Crudup over the years.
Fugit revealed in the same Vulture interview that he still has a relationship with Crudup, with whom he shared many of his Almost Famous scenes, though they don't see each other often. "I haven't talked to him since 2011, 2012, something like that," the actor explained. "I saw him in New York, and he was pissed at me because I was so much taller than him. He's like, 'I thought he would get shorter and uglier. Goddammit.'"
He has fond memories of Hoffman.
In another interview with The Observer in 2020, Fugit reflected on his relationship with Hoffman, who died in 2014 at age 46. The older actor had a reputation for being fairly focused and demanding on set, but Fugit said that he was never put off by that and had a great experience working with him. "He was never mean to me or anything like that. He would rib me and give me [expletive] because I was so lucky," the star said. "He would be like, 'You're 16, what theater have you done?' and I was like, 'I went to theater school.' He would say, 'No, what plays?' and I would list off all these summer program plays and [expletive]. And he was like, 'OK, so nothing legitimate.' He would give me [expletive], but he was very kind to me in regards to being supported. It's not like he's going to leave me hanging or anything like that. He came to work and expected the same of me, which is what you should do."
He's a dad.
Fugit isn't married, but he's in a long-term relationship with his partner Jenny Del Rosario, who's also an actor. The couple share a son named Ryker, and Fugit shares shots of his family on his personal Instagram.