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THE ALAMO

Recreating History
"This was, without a doubt, the biggest production I'd ever been involved with,” proclaims producer Johnson about the enormity, in numbers, of the entire project. "As an example everyday at lunchtime, we would feed anywhere between 700 and 800 people. That's 500 extras, 40 actors and a crew of 250!” Other key facts and figures associated with his production of "The Alamo” follow.

The siege of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, lasted a mere 90 minutes before all 189 Texian and Tejano defenders fell to over 2,500 Mexican soldados (while killing several hundred in the process). Six weeks later, Gen. Sam Houston avenged the Alamo slaughter by leading the charge at the Battle of San Jacinto. That skirmish lasted only 18 minutes, where 630 Mexican soldiers died, 208 were wounded and 730 were taken prisoner at the hands of his 910 Texian troops (of which only 6 perished).

Both heroic, ferocious battles took center stage in director John Lee Hancock's updated epic, shot over the course of 101 days on location in Austin, Texas.

Production began on January 27 and concluded on June 13...the first day's temperatures in central Texas were a biting 22 degrees. Over a hundred days later, the cast/crew ended on a scorching note – 102 degrees! From frostbite to sunstroke, director Hancock notes.

One notable number was recorded by production's end – 275,842. No, not the amount of film stock shot by Oscar® winner Dean Semler (that number came in at 1,091,070 feet), but the total number of bottles of water consumed by the thirsty troops, especially during the final weeks of production.

The film's magnificent set (comprised of 70 individual structures) stood on 51 acres – the largest free-standing set ever built in North America. While no guaranteed commitment was ever made by the filmmakers to bring this epic story of Texas independence to the Lone Star State, the location on a private ranch in the beautiful Texas Hill Country west of the state capital beat out over 80 other locations throughout 13 western states and Calgary, Canada.

Oscar®-nominated production designer Michael Corenblith's construction crew numbered 300, of which only 25 (marking 87% of the crew local scenics) hailed from Hollywood. Together, his artistic troops spent almost 8 months erecting over 70 buildings that comprised the Alamo fortress, the town of San Antonio de Bexar and San Felipe/Gonzales.

Veteran costume designer Daniel Orlandi dressed over 2,000 extras and 82 principal actors (of which 54 were Texas natives). Orlandi's crew supervised over 4,000 costumes, which included 1,000 Shako helmets manufactured in India (not to mention over 10,000 buttons adorning everything from Mexican generals to shopkeepers). Adding to the authenticity were 700 flintlock musket rifles either rented from L.A. prop houses or made in Italy and India. And, only one Jim Bowie knife (measuring a staggering 19 inches in length) was made specifically for actor Jason Patric's frontier character.

The accounting dept. estimates that the amount of ice used to cool off both the water and crew was about 70 tons (10 tons more than F/X magician Larz Anderson's crew used to dust four acres of Texas Hill Country for a winter snowscape sequence shot in early February). While we're still counting the number of bottles of Gatorade that also doused the troops, the crew devoured over 18,000 Krispy Kreme donuts over the course of the production (don't ask how much coffee washed down those delectable donuts, even though 510,000 cups of joe were recorded on the 1960 John Wayne version).

As a native Texan, John Lee Hancock felt a special obligation "to get it right” in every respect. That meant getting the story right and honing a screenplay that would help an audience put itself at the Alam

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