History has given the green light to its next big-scope miniseries, the eight-hour Texas Rising (working title), for a 2015 premiere. The project,which had been in the works at the cable network for a year and a half, comes from Leslie Greif, the producer of History’s first miniseries, mega hit Hatfield & McCoys. It will feature an big-name cast led by Hatfield & McCoys star Bill Paxton, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role as Randall McCoy. In the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers, Paxton will play Sam Houston, the father of Texas. He is joined by Brendan Fraser as Billy Anderson, a Texas Ranger with Comanche Indian ties; Ray Liotta as Lorca, an Alamo survivor seeking brutal revenge; Jeffrey Dean Morgan as “Deaf” Smith, a deaf and grizzled veteran Texas Ranger with an advanced case of consumption; Thomas Jane as James Wykoff, a homesteader who finds himself living in the middle of hostile Indian territory; Olivier Martinez as President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the tyrant dictator of Mexico; Chad Michael Murray as Mirabeau Lamar, a spirited Texas soldier who helps win the battle of San Jacinto; Michael Rapaport as Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a would-be deserter and coward turned hero; and Max Thieriot as Jack Hays, a volunteer freedom fighter who becomes the youngest Texas Ranger. Roland Joffé is is direcing the mini, from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America, produced by Thinkfactory Media with Greif serving as executive producer.
Greif also co-wrote the script for all four two-hour installments with Hatfields & McCoys producer Darrell Fetty; Hatfields co-writer Ted Mann co-wrote Night 1 with them. “From Hatfields & McCoys to The Bible to Vikings, History has made a major commitment to high-quality scripted historical dramas,” said the network’s EVP Dirk Hoogstra, “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.”
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. “It’s exciting to be back working with History and Bill Paxton, a team that made television history with Hatfields & McCoys,” said Greif. “The battle for Texas independence was epic and really the battle for the future of America.”