Short Cuts

Ron Howard back to The Alamo?

Confusion Rains Dept.: Last week we reported that Ron Howard was vacating his position as director of the upcoming monster-budgeted Disney/Imagine production of The Alamo, originally slated to commence filming this fall in and around the Dripping Springs area. This week, however, brings word that muddies the already-cloudy production waters even further. According to Michael Fleming's column in Daily Variety, in the wake of Howard's leaving "Disney moved on and quickly selected as helmer John Lee Hancock, the Texan who delivered the well-reviewed Disney sleeper hit The Rookie." Notes Variety, Disney has already sunk some $12 million into the script and the construction of sets (many of which is now waterlogged, thanks to the rainy pounding Central Texas has been receiving for the past several weeks) in Dripping Springs. That in itself isn't all that surprising, but now comes news that Howard has changed his mind and wants his director's chair back. Howard and his longtime producer Brian Grazer had initially selected Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) to do rewrites on John Sayles' original script, and, according to Variety, the trio is still working on it, though who's really going to be directing the $125 million project is suddenly anyone's guess. Howard apparently wants the freedom to turn in an R-rated picture, while Disney is angling for the much more box-office friendly PG-13. And then there's the question of who might walk if Howard does indeed go for good. It's known that pal Russell Crowe originally agreed to do the Alamo project so he could re-team with his A Beautiful Mind director, so no Howard could mean no Crowe as well. Local scuttlebutt is minimal, with the folks at the Texas Film Commission saying they're as much in the dark about the backroom dealings as anyone else. Set construction is continuing in the Dripping Springs area, however, a sure sign that Disney's moving forward on the production regardless of who ultimately will be behind the camera. Next week: Alamo to be helmed by Alan Smithee?... Cinematexas International Short Film + Video Festival 2002 will be holding a benefit tonight, Thursday, July 18, at the Empanada Parlour (707 E. 6th), at 10pm. A $3 donation gets you local DJ Trey Lopez's global electronica and free rein to schmooze. This year's fest runs Sept. 17-22 and will feature works by Jean-Luc Godard, Cuban filmmaker Santiago Alvarez, and an appearance by the legendary Werner Herzog, as well as the usual selection of far-flung international shorts and installations. See www.cinematexas.org for more info... What do the gang at South by Southwest do in their summer downtime? What downtime?! The official SXSW Interactive Web site has launched a series of online-only interviews with various and sundry techoids and blogmonkeys, among them Heather Champ of reflective self-photography site The Mirror Project (www.mirrorproject.com), 16color.com's Alan Watts, and online book community Centralbooking.com's Kevin Smokler. Read all about it at www.sxsw.com/interactive/tech_report/.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Alamo, Ron Howard, Russell Crowe, The Rookie, Disney, Brian Grazer, Heather Champ, Alan Watts, 16color.com, Kevin Smokler, Centralbooking.com, The Mirror Project, SXSW Interactive, Cinematexas, Werner Herzog, Santiago Alvarez, Jean-Luc Godard

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