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True Story About The Characters
In previous versions of "The Alamo,” the legendary characters have been drawn broadly, almost as heroes out of a comic book rather than the real, human figures that they were. John Lee Hancock was determined to show, as much as possible, the human dilemmas that these men were facing as they were placed in circumstances greater than themselves.

No man faced this more than David Crockett. "There was Davy Crockett, and then there was David Crockett,” Hancock explains. "We make that distinction because Crockett himself did. He preferred to be called David. He was this guy from the hills of Tennessee whose legend indicated he would wrestle an alligator and whip his weight in wildcats. He was also a successful politician and an international superstar even though that word didn't exist at the time. Crockett has always been portrayed simply as a frontiersman, this wild man from the hills, but I was always interested in both sides of Crockett. The politician, the guy in Congress, amazes me. And, I think that's what makes this character really interesting. It was just too good an opportunity thematically, to set up David versus Davy.”

Academy Award® winner Billy Bob Thornton plays the legendary character "like he was channeling Crockett,” per Hancock. "When I first read the existing script before I started my rewrite, Billy Bob's name came up. I don't think there's anybody else who could do this role.

"Billy Bob has that dichotomy as well,” Hancock adds about the apparent kinship actor and character seem to share. "You can see Billy in Arkansas, where he's from, driving around in his truck with a hound dog, and he seems completely at home there. You can also see him on the red carpet at the Oscars®, and he seems at home there, too. He's living in the backwoods and bright lights at the same time. This was somebody Billy Bob was able to really embrace. His performance was amazing to watch.”

"Crockett was kind of like a rock star in his day, a legend in his own lifetime,” says Thornton. "Any kid in his right mind would want to play Davy Crockett. When I was offered the part, I didn't have to think twice about it. He's a larger than life figure who was also very complex. I wanted to play Crockett because I thought that I could play this character with many colors. Now, the hard thing about talking about me playing this character is that I run the risk of sounding pompous and pretentious. The reason I say that is because when you read about his personality, how he was with people, I'm sort of the same guy. There are some myths about my life, too.

"I'd been to the Alamo several times growing up,” Thornton remarks. "I didn't go to the real Alamo during filming of the movie because I thought it would be too emotional for me. When I did go, I felt a sense of comfort. We got to know all these guys in the movie. And, when I went to the Alamo, you see their names on the wall. I related to the guy, this character, I had just played in the movie. And, I didn't have the sadness that I thought I was going to have. The only time I teared up was when I saw a lock of Crockett's hair. There's also a vest of Crockett's there, and I wear an exact replica of it in the film.When I saw the vest and the lock of hair, I got a little funny.”

When dealing with a larger-than-life character – especially one who, like Crockett, cultivated his image – the largest challenge is to present the man in a way that is truthful both to the facts of his life and the image he instills. "Crockett's death will always be a flashpoint for argument,” Hancock states.

Three theories abound regarding Crockett's demise: first, he was killed, along with all the defenders, during the chaos of the Alamo siege; second, that he died trying to escape from the Alamo compound; and third, that

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