Why Britney Spears' 2002 Film Crossroads Is Returning to Movie Theaters

Britney Spears’ 2002 movie Crossroads is heading back to the big screen in October, in celebration of the release of her memoir The Woman in Me.

By Corinne Heller Sep 21, 2023 3:55 PMTags
Watch: Taryn Manning Is Totally Game for a Crossroads 2!

Britney Spears is making a comeback to the big screen—sort of.

Crossroads, the 2002 film that served as the pop star's major movie acting debut, is set to return to theaters internationally for two days later this fall as part of a global fan event celebrating the Oct. 24 release of Spears' upcoming memoir, The Woman in Me.

Crossroads will be screened in 875 locations across 24 countries on Oct. 23 and Oct. 25, the day before and after the Grammy winner's book is released. And while this news will have Britney fans singing "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"—one of three of the pop star's tracks featured in the film—the showings will include a bonus sing-along of two more songs that were part of the film but have never been seen on the big screen, Variety reported Sept. 21.

Tickets are set to go on sale Sep 28. In addition, new apparel inspired by Crossroads is also offered for pre-order.

Britney Spears' Post-Conservatorship Life

Shonda Rhimes wrote Crossroads, a coming-of-age film starring Britney, Zoe Saldaña and Taryn Manning as three childhood besties who take a road trip with a guy named Ben, played by Anson Mount. The movie originally grossed more than $61 million worldwide. It remains Britney's only major big screen acting role.

Paramount/Getty Images

In January 2022, weeks before the film's 20th anniversary and two months after Britney's conservatorship was terminated at her request after 13 years, Zoe reminisced about working with the singer on Crossroads.

"I was working with Britney Spears when Britney was the biggest thing at that time," she told E! News. "And she was always just a sweet and kind person. She still is. I just have a feeling that she still is. I'm proud of her for stepping up for herself. It's amazing."

In March 2022, Taryn expressed hope for a Crossroads sequel. "I would hope that [the cast would] want to do it," the Orange Is the New Black alum told E! News. "And I think that seeing Britney back out and like, yeah, her going through everything…I just I think she's just bubbling over with creativity right now. I think we would have a lot of fun."

The film's director, Tamra Davis, recently told Variety that Britney is "absolutely breathtaking to watch" in the Crossroads. The director continued, "We had the best time in the world making this picture and the connection the actresses bring to their performances shows in every frame. I'm so grateful that Crossroads will be available so people can see Britney shine again."

Scroll down for 20 secrets about Crossroads:

1. The original title was What Friends Are For

2. Shonda Rhimes, who went on to become one of the most prolific TV showrunners after creating Greys Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, wrote the script with the intention of showing Britney Spears as a real person rather than a paparazzi target.

"I was much more interested in the young woman that I met than the image that people had of her," Rhimes explained to Vice in 2016. "She was a person, and I don't think anyone at the time was looking at her—because it's such a misogynistic society—as a person. The idea that we could portray her as a three-dimensional young woman was interesting to me. To have mean-girled her and turned her into a caricature would have been a mistake."

3. While Crossroads became Spears first major role in a movie, MTV Films was initially working on a different star vehicle for her: A musical update of Alice in Wonderland that would costar 'N Sync and other popular music acts from the time. 

4. The filmmakers cast relatively unknown actresses Taryn Manning and Zoe Saldana to play Spears' on-screen best friends. Saldana even had to use her agent's frequent flier miles to fight for the role in-person after bombing her taped audition. 

5. Anson Mount was picked by Spears to play her on-screen love interest, though the actor didn't initially have interest in the project. It was none other than his City By the Sea co-star Robert De Niro who convinced him to audition. 

"I was reading [the script] between takes, and Bob came up to me and goes, 'What are you doing?' and so I said,'Errr, it's this movie and Britney Spears is doing it, I'm not even sure if I'm going to do it, I'm just reading it,'" Mount said at a 2002 press conference. "And he goes, 'Why not? She's great.' So I showed him the script, and he read Britney's lines to my Ben."

6. The main cast bonded while filming the road trip movie, with Rhimes describing Spears as "very cheerful, very fun."

"I think it was so different from being on the road and doing concerts—being able to stay in one place and be with the same group of people all the time," Rhimes explained to Vice in 2016. "It was the first time I think she had hung out with people her own age. When she was on the road, it was her and a team of people, but this was her, and Taryn, and Zoe, and Anson. They were all sort of the same age, and I think they had fun together."

7. Tamra Davis, who directed comedies such as Half Baked and Billy Madison, told Vice part of the reason she was hired was that filmmakers "really wanted a female director because this was going to be Britney's first movie, and they really wanted to make sure she was protected and taken care of."

8. Spears requested just two specific food items on-set: tuna Lunchables and edamame. 

9. Producer Ann Carli revealed to Vice that Spears also asked for the production team to pick her up for work a half hour early so she could make her own Starbucks run. When Carli offered to have her coffee waiting for her, she recalled Spears saying, "I don't mind. I actually like going in and getting to decide."

10. Kim Cattrall was cast as Lucy's absent mom after Davis learned Spears was a huge fan of Sex and the City.

"We started mentioning names of very famous ladies to Britney, and you know she was very involved also in the casting," Davis explained in a 2002 episode of MTV's Making the Movie. "When we said 'Kim Cattrall,' she was like 'Oh my God, I love Sex and the City, that's my favorite show! All my girlfriends and I watch it."

11. According to an interview that Cattrall did with The Los Angeles Times in 2020, however, the maternal role was initially written for Madonna

12. To play Spears' overprotective father, Davis thought of Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd

"We wanted somebody that would be stern, but that also would have a heart of gold, because it would just be too one-dimensional if he was just like 'Mr. Hard Guy,'" the director explained. 

It was Spears who ultimately decided on the comedic actor, with Aykroyd revealing to People in 2001, "She told me that she and her mother admired my work and then offered me the role."

13. A frequent visitor on set was Spears' then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

"It was just the most beautiful relationship, seeing the two of them together and how love-y they were," Davis shared with Vice. "They were just so close, and she was such a supporter of his. He worked just as hard as her. It was like, she would be doing rehearsals and he would be doing rehearsals. They really knew that life together."

Davis also revealed that Spears would often doodle about her 'N Sync love in a notebook when she was in character as Lucy, saying, "I have the book. All she was writing was 'Britney and Justin,' all these little curlicues. It was like looking at a teenage girl's musings—hearts and butterflies and Justin's name."

14. As a nod to Timberlake, the main trio sing along to "Bye Bye Bye" during a scene.

15. Spears' sister Jamie Lynn Spears played the younger version of Lucy in her acting debut. 

16. In a 2002 interview with MTV, Spears gushed over how supportive her co-stars were.

"They gave me their advice on things, and they'd say, 'That was a good scene, Britney,'" she shared. "Because I'm new at this, and I'd want to know. And if something happened with them, I'd be like, 'That was really real!' We were totally there for each other."

17. Despite Spears being the most famous singer in the world, Saldana told E! News in January 2022 that she was down-to-earth.

"I was working with Britney Spears when Britney was the biggest thing at that time," Saldana said. "And she was always just a sweet and kind person. She still is. I just have a feeling that she still is. I'm proud of her for stepping up for herself. It's amazing."

18. Justin Long, who had a small role as Lucy's friend, reflected on working with Spears in a 2020 Instagram.

"I remember being slightly nervous to work with Britney Spears—she was such a massive star in 2002 (as she still is)," Long wrote. "When she introduced herself to me in the makeup trailer, I was disarmed by how sweet and NOT famous she seemed—just a nice girl (not yet a woman) from Louisiana."

19. In her 2011 music video for "I Wanna Go," Spears paid homage to the movie, driving past a theater that's marquee read, Crossroads 2: Cross Harder.

20. But a sequel isn't totally out of the question, with Carli telling Vice that some of the women involved in the making of Crossroads have considered it. 

"We've actually talked a little bit, in a weird way, about a sequel," she said in 2016. "There's a lot of people [involved], and they're really busy. Who knows? I think it would be a lot of fun, but everybody's in different places, from Taryn to Zoe to Britney to Shonda."

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App