We’ve been a little worried about Taylor Kitsch around the LaineyGossip offices. I wonder what the hell he’s doing in cut-rate action movies, and Kathleen wonders if, like Samson, his hair is the secret to his power. We’re all a little bummed True Detective season 2 didn’t work out for him. With more established careers, Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell are fine, but Kitsch still needs to prove himself outside Friday Night Lights. Maybe we can stop worrying now? Because the teaser trailer for Waco, that miniseries about the Branch Davidians, was released yesterday and HOLY SH*T. Riggins is back, y’all. (Lainey: he had to go back to Texas, that’s why! Texas Forever!)
Or rather, Riggins is nowhere to be seen. With obvious weight loss, those creepy glasses—when does the hero ever wear glasses like that?—and a shaggy mullet, Kitsch isn’t unrecognizable, but he’s distinctly Not Himself starring as David Koresh. And his voice! Not an exact mimic of Koresh, but definitely in that register. This is the most convincing character work Kitsch has done since FNL, and it’s for a Peak TV prestige project. It could always fall apart like True Detective, but at least from this first look, it’s a good step in the right direction.
And this teaser is squarely focused on Kitsch. Michael Shannon, who stars as the FBI negotiator who dealt with Koresh, is relegated to the background while Kitsch sermonizes as Koresh. The showrunners, John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, talked to The Hollywood Reporter about Kitsch’s devotion to the role, including the weight loss and holing up in a house by himself, so this is his “I was really cold for six months” moment.
It’s also a moment for true crime. There is a slew of true crime on TV right now—not to mention the podcasts—including the recent Manhunt miniseries about the Unabomber (my review: It’s okay), and a series each about the Menendez brothers and the Versace murder coming up. (And you should totally check out true crime parody American Vandal on Netflix, it’s SPECTACULAR.) Waco, though, isn’t just true crime, it also gets into cult stuff, a fascinating sub-genre of true crime. Cult stories are endlessly fascinating for why people get involved, and how it all falls apart. Which makes me wonder, how long before someone tackles one of the scariest cults of the twentieth century? How long before there’s a Jonestown?