Dennis Quaid Joins 'The Alamo'

Director John Lee Hancock ("The Rookie") has tapped Dennis Quaid to play Sam Houston in "The Alamo," reports Variety

Houston is considered to be among the showiest roles in an ensemble full of flawed characters who prove heroic in the Alamo battle and its aftermath. Houston was an ex-governor of Tennessee who led troops to avenge the Alamo and defeat Mexican leader Santa Ana.

When "The Alamo" was originally conceived as a directing vehicle for Ron Howard, Russell Crowe rearranged his schedule to play the Houston role and reteam with his "A Beautiful Mind" helmer. Howard ankled (and Crowe with him) when Disney got nervous about its potential $125 million cost and R rating; the studio brought in Hancock to reconceive it as an $80 million PG-13 effort.

It is not surprising that Disney and Hancock would cast Quaid, who joins Billy Bob Thornton in the film. Quaid's recent career surge -- he's generating strong critical buzz for "Far From Heaven" -- began with his work in "The Rookie," a film which also proved a profitable shot in the arm for the studio's live-action division.

The Disney film will begin shooting in January in hopes of a holiday 2003 release.

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