|Las Vegas has a double connection to the upcoming, eight-hour, blockbuster History Channel miniseries “Texas Rising.”
The awesome story of the Victory or Death saga in the 1836 fight in the Texas Revolution against Mexico that gave birth to the Texas Rangers has been previewed in this first YouTube video clip.
Las Vegas residents actor Adam Hicks and Marklen Kennedy, who also was the talent producer, are featured in the production.
Marklen, who produces his Las Vegas-headquartered series “Gigolos” for Showtime and his new “Late Night Chef Fight” series filmed here with Laila Ali and Vic “Vegas” Moea on A&E’s FYI network, told me:
“I play Texas Ranger Zacharias Coffey. Adam was another Ranger, Truett Fincham, and actor Christopher McDonald plays the captain, Henry Karnes of our Ranger Company. Aside from actor Bill Paxton, who is from Fort Worth, I was the only other true Texan in the miniseries.
“It was one of the greatest experiences of my life both professionally and personally.”
Kris Kristofferson plays President Andrew Jackson, and the cast also includes Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta and Trevor Donovan. Although filming in Durango took 3 1/2 months, Marklen was there for six months.
At one point, he was given a break and decided to go to Cabo San Lucas but found himself trapped in the Category-4 hurricane that caused major destruction on the tip of Baja.
“I was trapped just like Tom Hanks in ‘Cast Away,’ ” said Marklen.
“There was no food. No water. The heat was 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity. Total devastation everywhere. Eventually I made it back to Durango. I lost 30 pounds from start to finish.
Of “Texas Rising,” he continued, “You’ll see me riding horses with authentic wooden saddles from those days. It’s the story of a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. To this day, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the shrine of Texas liberty.”
Incredibly, the TV series will be previewed for the first time ever in TV history in 17,000 movie theaters in advance of the Memorial Day premiere. Admission tickets to that one-night-only screening will be donated to the renovation of the Alamo, the former Catholic fortress located now in present-day San Antonio.
Executive producer Leslie Greif, who also was behind the top-rated “Hatfields & McCoys” for the History Channel, said: “It’s a big-story saga that you don’t see on television anymore. We made a film — it’s just airing on television. Technology now allows television to engage in spectacle.”