In the gold rush of Peak TV, every network is scrambling for original scripted content, and Spike TV is the latest to throw their hat in the ring in the hopes of airing the next Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. It was announced yesterday that Spike will air a miniseries about the FBI stand-off with the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, which is being produced by The Weinstein Company. That’s hefty prestige points right off the bat. And adding to their prestige pile are the stars, Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon.
Kitsch will play David Koresh and Shannon will star as FBI negotiator Gary Noesner, whose book is a contributing source for the series. I’m into the idea of this overall, and I get why Kitsch, who bears a shaggy resemblance to Koresh in the right light, if you squint, has been cast, but I can’t help but think I’d like it just a little more if Shannon was playing Koresh instead. You’ve got Michael Shannon, of the dead-eye stare and creepily pervasive charm and he’s NOT playing the cult leader?
Granted, Shannon portrays a Texas lawman in Nocturnal Animals and he is f*cking stupendous in that role, but that’s also a heightened, exaggerated version of the type. In this Waco series, he’s going to be playing a real guy—the rules are different. As much as this might FINALLY be the post-FNL project that defines Kitsch’s second half, I’m always going to wonder what it would look like if Michael Shannon played David Koresh. Casting these two is great, but putting Kitsch in the Koresh role is just slightly backwards when Michael F*cking Shannon is standing right there.