BillyBobapalooza

Billy Bob's Filmography

THE ALAMO (2004)

Distributor
Touchstone Pictures

Director
John Lee Hancock

Character
David Crockett

Movie Quote
CROCKETT: 
If it was just simple old me, David, from Tennessee, I might drop over the wall some night and take my chances.   But this Davy Crockett feller, they are all watching him. He's been fightin' on this wall every day of his life.

Plot
In the early spring of 1836, Texas settlers (both Anglo and Mexican) resolve that they can no longer live under the tyrannical rule of Mexican dictator General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (Emilio Eccheverria) and kick his army out of San Antonio.  Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid) campaigns to persuade investors to move to the new frontier paradise of Texas and entices the legendary frontiersman and congressman Davy Crockett (Billy Bob) to plant his roots in the new territory. After losing his reelection bid, Crockett decides to take Houston up on his offer.  Little do Crockett and his Tennessee Volunteers realize, as they arrive in San Antonio to stake their claim, that General Santa Anna plans a massive military campaign against the Texas rebels.    Who is there to protect them?   Young, ambitious Colonel William Travis ( Patrick Wilson) has just assumed his command at the near-derelict Alamo fortress, and he is already at odds with the notorious James Bowie (Jason Patric), who retains command of the few volunteer troops remaining in San Antonio.  When the Mexican army--some 2,000 strong--surrounds the Alamo, Travis, Bowie, and Crockett retreat into the mission complex with some 187 men and begin the fabled 13-day standoff.  The rest, of course, is history.

What Billy Bob Gets To Do
He gets to play an American legend whose exploits have fired the nation's imagination for nearly 200 years.  Readily identifying with Crockett (a fellow Leo), Billy Bob learned to play the fiddle for a couple of key scenes.  He sports exact replicas of Crockett's clothing (right down to the meticulously embroidered buckskin vest, the original of which remains on display at the real Alamo) and defends one of the largest, most impressive, and historically detailed  movie sets ever built (at 51 acres, it is currently the largest standing set in North America).  Director John Hancock has described Billy Bob's Davy Crockett as the "heart and soul" of the film, and the critics have agreed.

Here's Billy Bob's take on the subject as told to interviewer Cindy Pearlman:  "This film is fast and fun, but you really learn about Davy Crockett, and all these men who had very selfish reasons for going down to Texas.  Davy was actually a congressman from Tennessee. He was a bear hunter. A wild man. He was a real complex guy who was open and friendly, but who perpetuated his own stories and his exploits in the woods to gain favor among the other men. He really knew how to play up that good old boy stuff. When Sam Houston told Davy about this new Republic in Texas and that it might need a president, well, that was all she wrote. Davy went there with political aspirations.  But, the next thing he knew, he was holed up in a fort with a ragtag crew, while the Mexican army was raging outside. Ultimately, he had to become a legend.  To me, what makes him an interesting legend is the fact that he's not just this macho guy. He was a man swept up by his circumstances. It was a case of, "I guess I'll do what I gotta do."  And that's something we can all relate to these days."

Backstory
Both Dennis Quaid and director John Lee Hancock are native Texans, with Hancock nurturing a lifelong love affair with the history of the Alamo.  The members of Planet Billy Bob gifted Billy Bob with the full Adventures of Davy Crockett TV series and feature films, as well as a Davy Crockett pin from Disneyland and the full lyrics to The Ballad of Davy Crockett (all 31 verses, folks!).  Shortly after principal photography was completed, Billy Bob joined Kevin Page (who plays Crockett's right-hand man Micajah Autry) and Robert Prentiss (who plays Alamo defender Albert Grimes), and Billybobapalooza site designer Little Sister Sage to get Alamo flags tattooed on their backs.  To see the results, click here.  

When the Billybobapalooza crew paid a visit to the set in Dripping Springs, Texas, last year and watched the first wave of the thrilling, final battle sequence shot at night with flares, cannons, and gunflash galore, we spent several hours hanging out with the Mexican soldiers.  The Mexican corps drilled together and took their meals and breaks together well away from the actors playing the Alamo defenders. When we asked them about their uniforms, one of the soldiers explained that General Santa Anna had greatly admired Napoleon and had emulated the Napoleonic French soldiers' uniforms when he outfitted his own army.  One of the Mexican soldiers then piped up, to the amusement of all, "Yeah, that's why we all look like nutcrackers!" Then, Billy Bob arrived to chat with the crew, all decked out in his rugged Crockett finery.  Everyone fell silent in awe.  Like Davy himself, he simply looked larger than life.

Unfortunately, the film has not done as well as hoped at the box office (perhaps if they had called it BAD SANTA ANNA, it might have had a chance), but it opened to solid acclaim, and attendees reported being deeply moved by the production and by Billy Bob's work.

Relevant Links
IMDb Link
Official Site
Unofficial Alamo site, but highly informative
Alamo Sentry - one history buff's nice site
Jo Blo preview of the Alamo movie
USA Today article
Moovees.com: Get a cute cow's-eye view of news about THE ALAMO
A nifty Davy Crockett site
Another Crockett site
Davy Crockett and the Alamo
A great site on the Davy Crockett craze of the 1950s
The Crockett Family site

Related Merchandise
Of course, there are books.  THE ALAMO: The Illustrated History of the Epic (Newmarket Press), by Frank Thompson and John Lee Hancock, features handsome photographs from the movie (with plenty of Billy Bob).  Frank Thompson has also penned THE ALAMO, a novelization of the script.  In addition to Carter Burwell's score (available on CD), audiophiles can enjoy Austin's legendary Asleep at the Wheel's tribute album Asleep at the Wheel Remembers the Alamo, which includes covers of the Mexican army's battle dirge The DeGuello, The Ballad of Davy Crockett, and even a song about a very different kind of assault on the Alamo:  the night when Ozzy Osbourne got himself arrested for relieving himself in front of Texas' most hallowed monument.


BBT On DVD
Now available on DVD in full and widescreen and on VHS, THE ALAMO on DVD includes several insider peeks at the making of the film, the Alamo's Texas heritage, a look at the four central historic figures, the trailer, and deleted scenes (including a hilarious wedding scene between General Santa Anna and a reluctant bride presided over by a bogus priest).  John Lee Hancock offers fascinating commentary.

Photo credit:  © 2004 Touchstone Pictures

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© 2004 by . . . Like the Wind Productions/Lonesome Rogues Design. This page is intended for entertainment and reference purposes only and is not intended to make a profit.  Film commentary reflects the opinions of the webmasters Amélie and Sage and not the opinions of Billy Bob Thornton or his representatives.