Taylor Kitsch is cult leader David Koresh in a new teaser trailer for the event series WACO from Paramount Network and the Weinstein Company. Michael Shannon co-stars as FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner in the 6-part series detailing the real-life tragic stand-off between Koresh's Branch Davidians and federal law enforcement in the spring of 1993.
86 people died as a result of the 51-day stand-off between Koresh and his followers, holed up inside their fortress-like compound in Waco, and officers of ATF and the FBI. The siege began after ATF agents attempted to storm the compound, resulting in a gun battle that took the lives of four agents and six Branch Davidians. The stand-off ended when the complex was set ablaze during an all-out FBI assault that resulted in the deaths of 76 sect members including Koresh. After the tragic events of that spring, law enforcement and the Justice Department came under heavy scrutiny for their use of arguably excessive force in a raid that took the lives of women and children.
After recently releasing a first-look image of Taylor Kitsch as charismatic cult leader Koresh, Paramount Network has put out a new WACO trailer teasing the six-part series. "51 days that shocked the world," reads the trailer's tagline as suspensful, droning music plays. Quick images give us the gist of the situation: Kitsch's Koresh speaks to his followers (ominously or hopefully?) about the "kingdom of heaven" that he promises is coming. Outside the compound, Shannon's Noesner walks around looking concerned while the situation slowly and surely escalates out of anyone's control.
One image shows Branch Davidians trapped inside the compound unfurling a banner reading "God help us we want the press." Coverage of the cult members generally portrayed them as religious nuts and Koresh as a crazed Jim Jones figure who wanted to force a showdown, but others have argued that this was a false representation and have claimed federal law enforcement greatly over-reacted to the threat posed by the Branch Davidians (who nevertheless did have plenty of weapons stashed away in their compound).
An Oscar-nominated 1997 documentary called Waco: The Rules of Engagement tried to unravel the truth about what went on during the siege and ultimately painted a harsh picture of the actions of the FBI. It will be interesting to see how the WACO series handles this still-controversial incident, as well as the character of Koresh who was either a total maniac or a misunderstood martyr, depending on whom you believe.
WACO also stars Supergirl herself Melissa Benoist, John Leguizamo, Battle of the Sexes actress Andrea Riseborough, Shea Wigham, Rory Culkin and Camryn Manheim. The series is set to debut on Paramount Network in January 2018.
Source: Paramount Network