Howard sheds light on 'Alamo' project

— While Ron Howard may no longer be directing his pet project, "The Alamo," for Disney, the director hasn't abandoned the project completely.

"I'm one of the producers, so I'm working on it all the time," Howard says. "I did a lot of research on that and thought a lot about directing it, but ultimately � and there was a lot written that it was all about money and budget and all that � but those issues could have been sorted out. We were working on that, but ultimately I realized that there was a disconnect between the studio and I as to how the film should be approached."

Instead of money issues, it appears the differences were about the film's rating.

"They felt like if they spending that much money, they really needed to make it accessible to audiences of all ages and they really thought it had to be, at the most, PG-13," Howard explains. "And I felt for me as a filmmaker, at this point in my career, if I did anything that looked or felt like it might be compromised or watered down, the reality sort of sanitized in any way, I'd be hurting the subject and not doing myself any favors."

"Alamo's" script, written by John Sayles and Steven Gaghan ("Traffic"), addresses many historical complexities, including the Mexican point of view that was not addressed in John Wayne's 1960 film. In addition, it explores the personal lives, including faults, of Alamo heroes William Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett. Howard says he wanted to make a grittier film, with more adult subject matter � one that probably would get an R rating.

So Howard walked away from directing the film, leading the studio to pick "The Rookie" director John Lee Hancock to helm the project.

One effect of Howard's decision is that Russell Crowe is no longer likely to star in the project.

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