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Why David Thibodeau From Waco Looks So Familiar

In just a couple of short years, Paramount Network has become a major player in the extended cable game. While their flagship series, Yellowstoneremains the key to that success, the network has also been bolstering its profile with a growing slate of impressive originals. One of the more compelling projects among those originals is 2018's Waco, a boldly realized miniseries that dramatizes the events surrounding the raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX circa 1993.

That tragic event led to the death of 86 followers of infamous religious zealot David Koresh, and four ATF agents. To date, it remains one of the most confounding cases of cult psychology clashing against government oversight in U.S. history. It also remains a topic rife for debate and study via books and theatrical adaptations. Paramount Network's dramatization is one of the few that dares to explore the human element in all of its astounding messiness.

With a talented cast of players like Michael Shannon, Andrea Riseborough, Julia Garner, Melissa Benoist, and Taylor Kitsch on board to bring that fateful human element to light, it's little surprise that Waco so wholly succeeds in such a tricky endeavor. Part of that success can also be attributed to the book that partially inspired Waco, David Thibodeau's haunting memoir, A Place Called Waco

If you're unfamiliar with Thibodeau's name, he was one of the few Branch Davidians who made it out of the compound with their lives, though his wife and daughter were not as lucky. As Waco sources his first-hand account of Branch Davidian life, he obviously features prominently the series, and we're betting most recognize the actor who portrays him, if only because Rory Culkin has been acting for most of his life. Here's why David Thibodeau from Waco looks so familiar.

Rory Culkin was most metal in Lords of Chaos

Yes, Rory Clukin is one of those Culkins, brother to Macaulay (Home Alone) and Keiran (Succession). Given that bit of knowledge, it'll come as little surprise that some of Rory's earliest roles came portraying younger versions of his more famous siblings on the screen. Even at an tender age, however, he proved he was more than capable of stepping out of his brothers' shadows, as evinced by his stellar work opposite Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney in the underrated 2000 indie dramedy You Can Count On Me.

The years since have seen Culkin grow into an adventurous performer with a serious indie streak, one that has seen him feature in low-budget winners like Mean Creek (2004), Down In The Valley (2005), and Columbus (2017). Still, Culkin's work in those memorable films could hardly prepare viewers for his stark turn in 2019's bracing biographical drama, Lords of Chaos.

If you're unaware of the beyond bizarre, yet apparently true, events that inspired Lords of Chaos, it follows a group of Norwegian outsiders whose insane pursuit of "true Norwegian Black Metal" music led them to wreak havoc over their nation with a wave of church burnings and, eventually, murders. Culkin appears in Lords of Chaos as the man who essentially birthed the movement, Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, whose murder at the hands of Varg Vikernes (Emory Cohen) proves an emphatic finale for both the movie, and the Black Metal movement, itself. 

As a film, Lords of Chaos is often as problematic as it is truly disturbing. Whatever you think of the movie as a whole, however, Culkin's beautifully naturalistic turn as "Euronymous" is utterly transfixing, and ultimately becomes the glue that holds the madness together.

Rory Culkin broke bad for Scream 4

While Rory Culkin has more frequently worked on the indie scene, he's hardly a stranger to the blockbuster set. In truth, one of the actor's most memorable roles to-date came via the fourth entry in the wickedly meta Scream franchise. For those of you who aren't well steeped in the way of '90s horror, the original Scream films were penned by Dawson's Creek creator Kevin Williamson and directed by horror icon Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street), and followed the travails of a few whip-smart small-towners (chiefly Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette) who are perpetually tormented by masked murderers.

Trust us when we say there's a lot more going on in the original Scream trilogy, so much that one could hardly believe there was more story to tell when Williamson and Craven got the the gang back together for a fresh edition of Scream insanity in 2011. While Scream 4 doesn't exactly re-invent the wheel in terms of the sparkling wit, gruesome kills, and shocking twists fans of the franchise had come to expect, it did prove a welcome return to the twisted world of Sydney Prescott and pals. 

It also saw the arrival of a bevy of fresh, new faces, including Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, and Lucy Hale. Rory Culkin was among those fresh faces, of course, and his work as the duplicitous, cinema-obsessed Charlie Walker proved the very definition of "scene-stealing," right up until his shockingly brutal exit.    

Rory Culkin saw the signs in Signs

On the topic of Rory Culkin's work in the blockbuster realm, there's little question that one of the actor's earliest roles also came in one of his biggest films. It found Culkin working with one of cinema's most intriguing, and just as often infuriating, cinematic voices, too. The filmmaker in question is the one and only M. Night Shyamalan, and the film was 2002's sci-fi spectacular, Signs

Released after the twist-filled one-two punch that was Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense and UnbreakableSigns again found the director exploring grandiose questions of faith, family, and grief, and doing so within the relatively contained confines of a single family unit. It also found him expanding his cinematic sensibilities by placing that family squarely within a horrific tale of a hostile alien invasion. As such, Signs genuinely felt like Shyamalan's most massive film up to that point, and came with a blockbuster-sized budget, to boot. While it has become one of the more divisive efforts on Shyamalan's mostly marvelous résumé, it also remains one of his more successful endeavors, pulling in north of $400 million in worldwide box office.

In spite of the film's failings, Signs partly works so well due to Shyamalan's crackerjack casting of the fragile family at its center, and while Mel Gibson's paterfamilias if clearly the star of the show, he's frequently overshadowed by the brilliant work of the supporting players: Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin, and yes, young Rory Culkin, who more than holds his own as the sickly, precocious pre-teen Morgan Hess.

Signs premiered almost 20 years ago, and Rory Culkin has been working steadily, since, but if Waco is any indication, he still has plenty left in the tank, meaning we can expect to see more of this talented actor in the future.