Taylor Kitsch plays the cult leader David Koresh in the mini-tv series “Waco.”
It took Taylor Kitsch four and a half months and losing 30 pounds before he was willing to play cult leader David Koresh in “Waco.”
“I had these whiteboards that if 6×4 across the house,” he told Page Six during the ATX TV Festival. “So if you try to escape, you could not really … They were everywhere. You would simply be watching TV and there would be a 6×4 whiteboard and you would have your lines right. That is me taking the time off. And then I would run them for 2-3 hours in the morning and then before going to sleep. That scripture is a whole other language.”
The Waco siege conducted by the FBI in 1993 resulted in a 51-day standoff at the compound of the Branch Davidians, a religious group in Texas. Law enforcement believed that they were stockpiling illegal weapons. The siege ended after the FBI launched a tear gas attack, in which the compound caught fire. There is still debate over whether the Davidians started the fire, or the FBI, but 75 people were killed, including their leader, Koresh. Only nine Davidians survived the siege.
On top of memorizing the dialogue-heavy material, Kitsch, 37, said he saw hundreds and hundreds of hours of clips from the child protective services, negotiation tapes, Koresh’s sermons and recruitment tapes and letters Koresh wrote to followers. He also read survivor David Thibodeau of the book, which the series is partly based on, multiple times.
“It was just a huge amount of material, which I loved, and then you can choose what you feel what to connect to,” he told us.
He also explained they went through the autopsy reports and had professionals explain exactly what they think happened inside the compound. Thibodeau was also on the set to consult.
Kitsch also talked about all the weight he had to lose for the role.
“I had a meat lovers pizza,” he said of the first thing he ate after filming. “I didn’t drink for eight months, so I had a couple of cold beers.”
This article originally appeared on Page Six.