History Channel has set an all-star cast for its upcoming Texas Rising miniseries.
From the producers of its ratings juggernaut Hatfields & McCoys, Emmy nominee Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Thomas Jane, Olivier Martinez, Chad Michael Murray, Michael Rapaport and Max Thieriot will star in the new drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Oscar nominee Roland Joffe (The Mission, The Killing Fields) will direct.
The eight-hour “event series,” from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America and produced by Thinkfactory, hails from Hatfields’ Leslie Greif, who will executive produce the mini. Rising, which will premiere in 2015, will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement group in North America. Part one is written by Greif, Darrell Fetty and Ted Mann, the latter of whom co-wrote Hatfields for History. Nights two, three and four will be written by Greif and Fetty.
Paxton, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role in Hatfields, will star as Sam Houston, the “father” of Texas. Fraser (The Mummy) will play Billy Anderson, a Texas Ranger with Comanche Indian Ties. Liotta (GoodFellas) is set as Lorca, an Alamo survivor seeking brutal revenge. Morgan, is was one of pilot season’s most in-demand actors, is “Deaf” Smith, a deaf and grizzled veteran Texas Ranger with an advance case of consumption. Jane (Hung) will portray James Wykoff, a homesteader who finds himself living in the middle of hostile Indian territory. Martinez (Before Night Falls) will be President Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the tyrant dictator of Mexico. Murray (One Tree Hill) will play Mirabeau Lamar, a spirited Texas soldier who helps win the battle of San Jacinto. Rapaport (Justified) is Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a would-be deserter and coward-turned-hero. Thieriot (Bates Motel) will play Jack Hays, a volunteer freedom fighter who becomes the youngest Texas Ranger. Additional castings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“From Hatfields & McCoysto The Bible to Vikings, History has made a major commitment to high-quality scripted historical dramas,” History exec vp and GM Dirk Hoogstra said. “The Texas Revolution is one of the most gut-wrenching and inspirational events in our history. Doing the story justice will be a massive undertaking and we’re excited to begin production with one of the best teams in the business.”
Here’s History’s official description of Rising: “In 1836, if west of the Mississippi was considered the Wild West then Texas was hell on earth. Crushed from the outside by Mexican armadas and attacked from within by ferocious Comanche tribes — no one was safe. But this was a time of bravery, a time to die for what you believed in and a time to stand tall against the cruel rule of the Mexican General Santa Anna. From General Sam Houston, to rag tag Rangers to the legendary ‘Yellow Rose of Texas — this is a story of the human spirit rising in the face of insurmountable odds and claiming a piece of history for all eternity.”