David Koresh was the manipulative leader of a religious cult called the Branch Davidians, an off-shoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In February of 1993, the FBI and ATF launched a raid on their Mount Carmel compound (just outside of Waco, Texas) upon suspicion of weapons violations. The siege lasted 51 days, ending in a massive fire that caused the deaths of 76 Davidians, including Koresh and 25 children. In Waco, a new mini-series from Weinstein Television, Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor) takes the role as Koresh to show us what happened over those nightmarish two months.
If you’re not familiar with his particular brand of crazy, Koresh claimed to be a “prophet” and was suspected of child physical and sexual abuse. He was spiritually married to several women within the Branch Davidian group – including at least one underage girl – and fathered more than 12 children with several of his “wives”.
The Waco siege began in February 28, 1993 when the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) attempted to raid the Mount Carmel ranch. The ensuing gun battle took the lives of six Branch Davidians and four government agents. The FBI Hostage Rescue Team quickly stepped in and tried to force the group out of their compound. On April 19, 1993, after 51 days, three fires simultaneously broke out across the compound, allegedly set by the members themselves.
The upcoming series uses information from two biographies about the Waco siege. A Place Called Waco, by Branch Davidian member and one of the sect’s nine survivors, David Thibodeau, and Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator, written by the FBI’s Head of Crisis Negotiation Unit Gary Noesner, played in the mini-series by Michael Shannon.
In an interview with People, Kitsch spoke about his extensive research to prepare for the role:
“I was like 99-plus percent of the people who are going to start watching this [and don’t know the whole story], in the sense of we only knew or know what we were told and what they want you to know. The deeper I got into this, the more it unfolded of what exactly happened from the civil rights to the $50 warrant that they had, to the lack of jurisdiction – there are literally jaw-dropping things that happened that the FBI and ATF did during that 51-day siege, it’s genuinely hard to believe that this happened only 25 years ago.”
The six-episode mini-series was written by Drew and John Erick Dowdle (As Above, So Below and The Poughkeepsie Tapes) and stars – alongside Kitsch – Julia Garner (We Are What We Are), Michael Shannon (Midnight Special, Take Shelter), Shea Wingham (Boardwalk Empire, Kong: Skull Island), John Leguizamo (Spawn), Rory Culkin (Intruders), Melissa Benoist (Supergirl), Andrea Riseborough (Nocturnal Animals), Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards), and Eric Lange (Narcos).
Waco premieres on the Paramount Network (previously known as Spike TV) in January 2018. Check out the teaser trailer below!
Source: Den of Geek