Feb. 15, 2002. It's a day the Britney Army will never forget.
Fifteen years ago, Britney Spears' first (and sadly only) film Crossroads debuted to critical acclaim — well, if you asked teen girls at least. The film might only have a paltry score of 27 of Metacritic, but it was a box-office hit, grossing over $61 million worldwide and for many who grew up with Spears, Crossroads has become a cult classic.
Details surrounding the film are also fascinating — particularly when you look back on it now. Check out the six most important things you didn't know about Britney's big film debut.
1. Shonda Rhimes wrote it. Yup, that Shonda Rhimes of TGIT fame. Before she gave us Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, Rhimes got her big break writing Crossroads — the story about three girls going on a road trip with a strange man whom they briefly worry is a murderer. During their cross-country journey, each of the women experiences a traumatic life event: one confronts the mother who abandoned her 18 years ago, another discovers her fiancé has not only been unfaithful but raped her best friend, and the third, the rape victim, suffers a miscarriage after running away from her rapist.
Looking back, it's clear to see Rhimes' penchant for emotionally wrought, soapy drama has always been in her writing arsenal long before she came to dominate our TVs. Although, it's important to give credit where credit's due: Spears was actually the one who came up with the whole concept of the film before approaching Rhimes to bring it to life.
2. The cast is insane! Everyone remembers Spears, of course, but the rest of the cast is equally impressive. Before landing roles in Star Trek and Orange Is the New Black, respectively,Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning starred as Spears' character's two best friends. Justin Long played Spears' lab partner who begged the singer to take his virginity. And Dan Aykroyd and Kim Cattrall played her parents!
3. Robert De Niro helped cast Spears' love interest. Anson Mount, who played the love interest Ben, was hesitant about taking the role. However, he was talked into it by his City By the Sea co-star Robert De Niro, who was a huge fan of Spears. He even did line readings with Mount reading Spears' part!
4. Spears' cravings on the set were all over the place. No one would ever call Spears a foodie, but that's part of her charm! The living legend will always be more about Caesar salads than foie gras, which turned out to be a blessing on set since Crossroads had such a small budget. The singer only had two requests while filming the project: tuna Lunchables and edamame. It's an odd pairing, for sure, but Spears has always been a trailblazer. Spears, a noted Starbucks aficionado, also had production pick her up early each day so she could go on a Starbucks run. When they offered to make sure production had coffee waiting for her when she arrived, Spears declined because she enjoyed the freedom of getting to decide her order herself.
5. Justin Timberlake was a fixture on the Crossroads set. For a certain generation, Justney is the be all, end all of celebrity couples. And long before Timberlake began shading Spears in the press, the two stars were inseparable. He frequently stopped by the set while she was filming Crossroads. And when Spears was instructed to absentmindedly doodle in a notebook to help her get in character, the infatuated teen would write "Britney and Justin" repeatedly.
6. Spears is down for a sequel! After Saldana praised her working experience with Spears on Watch What Happens Live in 2014, the singer responded on Twitter, writing: "Truly the sweetest, thx 4 the kind words. Nothing but great memories of working w u. Crossroads pt 2? ;)" She also made a cheeky reference to the notion of a follow-up in her "I Wanna Go" music video.