Rookie Takes On 'The Alamo' Remake

John Lee Hancock ("The Rookie") will take the reins of "The Alamo," Disney's historical epic remake, reports Variety.

Hancock's emergence follows notification by Ron Howard to studio brass that he wouldn't direct, though he and Imagine partner Brian Grazer would continue as producers. It is likely that Russell Crowe will also exit the role of Sam Houston, since his motive was to re-team with his "A Beautiful Mind" director.

Disney, which only passed the $100 million mark for a live-action film on "Pearl Harbor," is juggling "Alamo" and the comparably priced "Pirates of the Caribbean," the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced adaptation of the Disney theme park ride. While there is no comparison in the prestige and Oscar potential columns, "Pirates" has several advantages: less gross given away to above-the-liners, merchandising, video sell-through and sequel potential, the latter of which is not a possibility for "The Alamo."

Once Hancock completes his deal, Disney will try to pare the budget to around $75 million. While there are sure to be doubters who'll say the loss of Howard and Crowe shows Disney's future is in films like "The Country Bears," the studio and Hancock will see it differently. While the writer in Hancock might prompt a polish, he's got a sharp script about a rich historical subject that Oscar-winning "Traffic" scribe Stephen Gaghan spent four weeks reworking under the direction of Howard and Grazer. A second time helmer-could do worse.

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