HollywoodLife.com talked EXCLUSIVELY with Taylor Kitsch about how he became religious leader David Koresh for ‘Waco’ and what it was like seeing Mount Carmel rebuilt.
Taylor Kitsch totally transforms into the role of David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, in Paramount Network’s riveting Waco miniseries. The role of the religious leader is a fascinating and complicated one. Taylor told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY at the show’s world premiere screening and discussion at the Paley Center on Jan. 24 that he “didn’t know what to think” about David at the beginning of this journey. There’s a lot of information about David out there, some fact and some fiction. “I think you have to try and have a thick, thick, thick filter when listening to a lot of outside sources or ungrounded things that happened or was said about the whole incident,” Taylor said about the learning process. “You try to assimilate as much information as you can and ground it and make it as authentic as you can.”
Taylor admitted that he focused on what David “really latched onto, which is the Book of Revelations, the Seven Seals.” When asked what the hardest part was in embodying David Koresh, Taylor said, “I think it’s just trying to wrap your head around his belief system, and most importantly, why he believed that.” It was necessary to do that to understand Koresh. “If you really ground yourself in that sense emotionally to his motivations to what makes him tick, then you can almost give me anything and go. It just takes an insane process to get there,” he continued.
Taylor worked alongside Waco survivor David Thibodeau, author of Waco: A Survivor’s Story, while filming the series. “He was incredibly open and very supportive, and he was the ultimate critic in my humble opinion,” Taylor said about David. “When he would give me the green light in watching a sermon or whatever the scene was, I knew I was on the right track.”
The show actually built a replica of the Mount Carmel compound, and Taylor noted that seeing the compound rebuilt was quite the experience. “It was incredible,” he said. “I’ll never forget it. We built a studio set for the interiors and then the compound was outside Sante Fe. We shot a lot in the studio at first, and then three weeks in we finally went out to the compound and there were tanks on that property. It was surreal.”
Waco airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Paramount Network.
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