A/V Room









The Alamo - Preview

Preview by: Jack Foley

THE tale is a familiar one - in a small Texas town, in the Spring of 1836, roughly 200 men lost their lives defending a small mission building, the Alamo, from several thousand Mexican soldiers under the command of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

The Alamo has already been filmed on numerous occasions, most notably with John Wayne and Richard Widmark, but this latest re-telling of the legend has been thrown into the middle of the Oscar season, and could be the most definitive version of events yet.

John Lee Hancock (The Rookie) directs, with a cast including Billb Bob Thornton, as Davy Crockett; Dennis Quaid, as General Sam Houston; Jason Patric, as James Bowie; and Patrick Wilson, as Lt. Col. William Travis.

And the American release date for this on-screen massacre? Christmas Day, at the moment.

Advance word is very strong for the action-packed ensemble, particularly given its December 25 release date, and the quality of its production team.

The film was originally intended as a project for Ron Howard to direct (he produces instead), with Russell Crowe poised to star; but distributors, Disney, allegedly got a little nervous about the film's estimated $125 million cost and R rating, and stalled long enough to bring in Hancock, an $80 million budget and a PG-13 rating.


For the moment, however, all thoughts have turned to the set itself, which is, according to one of its stars, Billy Bob Thornton, is 'astounding'.

In one online interview, the star claimed that 'it kind of gives you a chill'.

"When I saw the Mexican army up on the hill there and there I was in my full rig - with my flintlock rifle - it got kind of spooky," he added.

In fact, such has been the determination to get the details of the 13-day siege spot on, the filmmakers reportedly recreated the actual Alamo down to the smallest details on a 51-acre set in Austin, Texas.

Hence, the actors were required to work in the cold and the rain, and all the elements that nature could throw at them, in a bid to recapture the sensation of actually being there.

The shoot eventually took five months and involved a lot of training, particularly in the art of horse-riding.

Another of the film's stars, Matt Blucas , described the set as one of the biggest ever built in the United States.

"It was on a 2,000-acre ranch so you didn't see a house, you didn't see a power line, and you didn't see a car," he added.

"You couldn't help but be transported to 1835, that's just what it was. It is historically to scale. It's historically perfect. It's phenomenal."

IndieLondon will, of course, be bringing you the US reaction when it opens there in December.

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