There is no small amount of irony in the timing as filming of “Waco” – a miniseries about the Branch Davidian siege and conflagration in early 1993 – is about to begin, according to published reports.
The project was slated to start production in mid-April, about the same time of the month that federal agents tried to storm the Branch Davidian compound and end a drama that had been dragging on for weeks. A massive fire erupted and 76 people perished inside, including David Koresh, leader of the group. There were nine survivors.
This came at the end of a 51-day standoff that began with a botched raid by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in late February 1993 that erupted in a fierce gun battle and brought national attention to the events that would essentially unfold on network news programs over several weeks. It all came to a tragic conclusion on April 19, a date shared by the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the miniseries will be filmed in New Mexico, although the actual drama unfolded in neighboring Texas. The six-parter reportedly will star Michael Shannon, John Lequizamo and Taylor Kitsch, and will be directed by John Erick Dowdle. It is being produced by The Weinstein Company, the newspaper said.
The horrendous Waco fire became one of the two “visual book-ends” of the Clinton administration. The other was the dramatic Associated Press photo of young Elian Gonzalez being seized by federal agents at the point of a submachine gun. Coincidentally, that raid occurred in April 2000, with only eight months remaining for Bill Clinton’s presidency.
When the Chicago Tribune reported the project, it said filming will continue into June. The series will premiere on the Paramount Network sometime next year, the Tribune reported.
The story will be told from different perspectives, according to published reports. According to the Journal, “The series will explore the details leading up to and chronicling the 51-day standoff in which four federal agents were killed along with some 70 people inside the sect’s compound in Central Texas.”
The Waco siege erupted during the first weeks of the Clinton administration. Then-Attorney General Janet Reno took responsibility for the debacle.