Crowe and Thornton may remember ''Alamo'' after all. Even though Ron Howard's expensive epic of the Texas siege fell apart, Disney is pursuing the same actors to star in its mid-budget version
Russell Crowe, Billy Bob Thornton
Credit: Crowe: Fred Prouser/Reuters/Newscom; Thornton: Martin Grimes/Newscom

When Disney scuttled Ron Howard’s proposed ”The Alamo” this summer, its excuse was cost. It didn’t make economic sense to the studio to spend $125 million to make a movie on which the ”Beautiful Mind” team of director Howard, producer Brian Grazer, and star Russell Crowe would take a quarter of the gross before Disney saw its first dollar. Plus, the R-rated movie would exclude teens and turn off overseas audiences. But now that Disney is making a much cheaper version of the movie, with Howard producing but not directing, the studio thinks it can get the same stars, including Crowe, Billy Bob Thornton, and Ethan Hawke.

The revised ”Alamo” will be a less bloody movie (PG-13 at most), with a less costly director (”The Rookie”’s John Lee Hancock) and a lower budget (a moderate $75 million). Hancock’s rewrite of the screenplay isn’t finished, but Variety reports that the studio has already all but signed Thornton to play Davy Crockett. It’s also still expecting to get Hawke, an Oscar nominee last winter for ”Training Day,” to play William Travis, who became an unlikely hero in the 1836 siege.

Disney also still hopes to get Crowe to play Texan hero Sam Houston, but if not, the role is still bait for leading-man types. If Crowe is a no-go, another name that has been mentioned, according to Variety, is that of ”Lord of the Rings” star Viggo Mortensen, who recently shot another Disney Western, ”Hidalgo.”

The Alamo (Movie - 2004)
  • Movie
  • 120 minutes