Billy Crudup has been acting since the ’90s. He’s played countless roles, but for many, he’ll always be Russell Hammond from 2000’s Almost Famous.
The actor looked back on the role during an appearance on The View and recalled a fateful run-in with Robert Plant at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.)
“I was walking into LAX, and I saw this…he’s a huge, huge man and still has all the same hair. He was carrying a guitar and passing through the airport, ” begins Crudup. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God! That’s Robert Plant! … This is my chance to go up and talk to somebody from Led Zeppelin.’ And maybe, by proximity, I’d feel those rock and roll vibes.”
He continues, “I panicked, and I let him go by. I missed the opportunity, and I sat there kicking myself while I was waiting for the plane. I get on the plane and sitting just adjacent to me was Robert Plant and several assistants surrounding me and him.”
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Despite this fateful seating, Crudup’s nerves were still getting the best of him. He adds, “I spent the next five hours on the flight back panicked again thinking how am I going to broach the subject with him. So, finally, after we had landed, I was taking down my luggage, which wasn’t in terrible shape, I just want to say. But Robert Plant took the opportunity to say, ‘Well, I guess that’s seen better days.'”
Crudup continued, “I wasted no time. I said, ‘Hi, my name is Billy Crudup. I played Russell Hammond in ‘Almost Famous.’ I said ‘I’m a golden god’ in it.’ He goes, ‘Oh, that is you! That’s my line!’ And then I said, ‘Well, it’s my line now!’ and walked off [the plane.]”
He concluded, “Hand-on-heart, the flight attendant said as I walked off, ‘Oh, my! The two golden gods!’ I was like, ‘I guess I’m gonna retire. That’s it for me.'”