Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon to Star in Miniseries about the 1993 Waco Standoff

     August 31, 2016


The limited series is alive and well, and attracting major talent. Variety reports that Weinstein Television is developing a miniseries that will star Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon, and focus on the deadly 1993 standoff in Waco, Texas between the obscure Christian sect the Branch Davidians and the FBI/ATF.

Kitsch will play the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh, while Shannon will play FBI negotiator Gary Noesener. Brothers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle will write the series, with John Dowdle set to direct. The brothers’ past credits include Quarantine, As Above, So Below, and No Escape. The series is based on the books A Place Called Waco by former Branch Davidian David Thibodeau and Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator by Noesener.

a-place-called-waco-book-coverFor those who are unfamiliar with the standoff, it involved a 51-day siege of the compound that housed the Branch Davidians following a gunfight that left four ATF agents and six Branch Davidians dead. Per Variety, “The standoff ensued until authorities began to move on the compound with armored vehicles. A fire then broke out inside the buildings that has long been the subject of debate and conspiracy theories about its cause. In the end, Koresh and 76 others were killed in the blaze.”

It sounds like it would be a perfect plot for American Crime Story, but hopefully the Dowdles can do justice to this material. The Waco standoff is still a fascinating piece of recent American history, and while modern standoffs with the government have gotten a bit more…irreverent…it will be interesting to see how the Dowdles tackle the subject, especially with talented actors like Kitsch and Shannon in the lead roles.

It will also be interesting to see who picks this up. I wouldn’t be surprised if it lands at a streaming network. It seems like a story people will want to tear through if it’s done properly.