If you’re binge-watching Waco on Netflix, you may be wondering where you have seen the actor playing cult leader David Koresh before. Does Friday Night Lights ring a bell? Taylor Kitsch, who played troubled high school football star Tim Riggins on the beloved show, traded his cleats for crosses in the miniseries.
Waco, which recounts the infamous 1993 standoff between Koresh's religious faction, the Branch Davidians, and the FBI which resulted in 74 deaths in Waco, TX, originally premiered back in 2018 on Paramount Network. But with everyone in quarantine and searching for things to watch, the series has found its second wind on Netflix with Kitsch in a standout role — one that he almost passed on.
“I almost pulled out a month and a half [before the filming began],” Kitsch told Rolling Stone back in January 2018. “I think I was in too deep. You spend eight hours a day in this 1,000-square-foot apartment in Austin playing guitar and reading about this tragedy every single day. It just started to really weigh on me. I had no outlet. And I was probably just scared shitless and panicked.”
Obviously in the end Kitsch did not pull out of the role, and instead lost 30 pounds and donned a mullet to transform into Koresh. He also searched for the “why” behind Koresh’s actions, theorizing that his tumultuous childhood and “no sense of self or purpose” caused him to create an environment that he could control.
At the time of the show’s original airing, Kitsch said that he wanted “to show as much as I can who he was because he was more than what was sensationalized during the [time].”
Waco also stars Michael Shannon and Shea Whigham, along with Melissa Benoist and Ozark’s Julia Garner.