In what might be some of the most interesting and exciting casting news to be announced recently, Weinstein Television has confirmed that Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon and Lone Survivor star Taylor Kitsch will take the lead roles in the upcoming miniseries about Waco – the deadly 1993 siege in Texas that attempted to disrupt a secretive Christian sect, then presided over by David Koresh.
The reason this casting is such promising news is not only because the two actors involved are powerhouse performers, but because the nature of the source material lends itself to the delivery of a balanced examination of the tragic events. Written by John and Drew Dowdle (No Escape), with John Dowdle in the director’s chair, the series will be based on a combination of two books: Stalling For Time: My Life As An FBI Hostage Negotiator by Gary Noesener, and A Place Called Waco by former cult member David Thibodeau.
These two resources will hopefully provide both sides of the story. To that end, we will have Taylor Kitsch in the role of David Koresh, while Michael Shannon will play FBI negotiator (and book author) Gary Noesener. Balance is particularly important in this story, because the way in which events unfolded during that 51 day siege has led to a great many conspiracy theories being developed over the years.
The incident began when the FBI, along with ATF agents, attempted to raid the Waco compound of the Branch Davidian sect having received reports of weapons violations and child abuse. The law enforcement agencies were unexpectedly repelled by gunfire that resulted in the deaths of six cult members and four ATF agents. Having retreated and attempted to negotiate, the incident finally ended when the property was engulfed by a fire that killed sect leader, David Koresh, and 76 other people.
Questions have lingered ever since about how and why the fire began, and it seems that this miniseries intends to specifically address those issues as a part of its wider objective of exploring the siege as a whole. Waco does not yet have a broadcaster in place, but Weinstein Television is currently courting distributors for what is likely to be a highly anticipated small screen event.