Alicia Keys' "Unplugged" CD/DVD (due Oct. 11 via J) has no shortage of special guests, including Common, Mos Def, Damian Marley and Maroon 5's Adam Levine. But the project nearly got a major lift from

Alicia Keys' "Unplugged" CD/DVD (due Oct. 11 via J) has no shortage of special guests, including Common, Mos Def, Damian Marley and Maroon 5's Adam Levine. But the project nearly got a major lift from rock legends Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards, who had to back out at the last minute.

"I was going to cry," Keys tells Billboard.com with a laugh. "Bruce and I were going to do 'New York City Serenade' but the schedule just conflicted. And with Keith, the day the show taped was the day the Stones started rehearsal for their tour. But it was really lovely to reach out to people I admire and for them to be so down to do it."

"Unplugged" premieres tonight (Sept. 23) on MTV. On the show, Keys uses the opportunity to premiere a new song, "Unbreakable," which was originally intended to appear on her 2003 studio album, "The Diary of Alicia Keys." It is the top debut at No. 61 this week on the Billboard Hot 100.

"We set the crowd up and the vibe was just perfect, and then I walked over to my piano and I asked them if they wanted to hear something new, and they just went crazy," Keys enthuses. "It was so great to perform that song there for the first time."

Although she concedes she may "do a couple of spontaneous, small, 'Unplugged'-style things" in the near future, she has no plans to tour for a while. Instead, Keys will move directly into working on her first feature film, "Smoking Aces," which begins shooting Nov. 3 and will wrap Dec. 20.

She is also still planning to star in a biopic about biracial child piano prodigy Philippa Schuyler, which she says is "still in development. That one we should have the script for by the holidays and we'll take it from there."

By early next year, Keys says she'll be ready to get serious on her third studio album. Asked if she was already working on any new material, she replies, "Oh, there's been a lot of things springing forth from me. I have this new direction I'm feeling I will go in for the next album. I've been playing around, experimenting and vibing on different styles. I have about four or five songs I've been working with but I'm constantly writing all the time."