Just got the following off www.CNN.com NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Disney is ready to renew its battle cry for "The Alamo." The studio has begun negotiations with Billy Bob Thornton to play the role of Davy Crockett, Variety reports. The $75 million period drama will begin shooting in January with John Lee Hancock ("The Rookie") directing. The studio hopes to have it in theaters for the 2003 holidays. Hancock was hired in late July to replace Ron Howard, who quit the project earlier that month over a difference of opinion about budget and rating. Howard, hot off his Oscar-winning turn with "A Beautiful Mind," wanted to make a gritty picture that could have gotten an R rating and would have cost $125 million or more. Once Howard took a step back to produce with his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer, Disney executives moved quickly to bring in Hancock. He is said to be two weeks away from turning in a final draft, but the studio is bullish enough to start dealmaking with Thornton's representatives at Creative Artists Agency and Industry Entertainment. Thornton will play Crockett, one of the more heroic roles in the drama. Over the next week or so, Disney will reapproach Ethan Hawke for the role of William Travis, a scoundrel who wound up a hero in the siege. And the studio will see if Russell Crowe is still game to play the role of Sam Houston. Crowe had been set, but he'd made room in his busy schedule mainly for the chance to reteam with Howard, his director on "A Beautiful Mind."