In the days of Covid-19 and Stay at Home orders, binge watching on Netflix has taken on a life of its own. Among the myriad of offerings is one series with a connection to one of our neighbors. Waco is the story of David Koresh and the Branch Davidian compound in Texas in the early 1990s that ended in a deadly standoff with the ATF. One of the lead characters portrayed in the series is FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner (portrayed by Michael Shannon). Gary’s daughter, Katie Noesner Salzman, is a Virginia Run resident. We asked her about what it was like seeing her father portrayed on-screen.
WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF THAT INCIDENT AND WHAT’S YOUR REACTION TO SEEING IT RE-CREATED IN A NETFLIX SERIES?
I was only 10 when the standoff occurred, so I mostly remember my dad being gone for a long time. He often had to travel and sometimes we weren’t sure how long he would be gone. Despite that, he was always a great coach, dad, and mentor. To see it recreated on screen is surreal and super rewarding. My dad had to make a lot of sacrifices for his job.
IN THE SERIES, YOUR FATHER IS INVOLVED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SIEGE, BUT THAT’S NOT ENTIRELY
ACCURATE IS IT?
That’s right, my dad left the siege early because he did not agree with how it was being handled. The biggest discrepancy between real life and the series is that my dad was not present at the Ruby Ridge incident. The producers needed to add my dad to that part of the storyline to connect the similarities between that case and Waco. I should note that the part I found to be the most far- fetched (David Koresh playing guitar in an open window like a bad 80s movie) was actually accurate.
YOUR FATHER WAS A CONSULTANT DURING PRODUCTION. IS HE PLEASED WITH THE WAY THE SERIES TURNED OUT AND HOW HE WAS PORTRAYED?
My dad was so happy with how Michael Shannon portrayed him. We loved getting to meet the cast and crew during the release party. My dad was very involved in making decisions and giving advice on set. Our whole family felt that the show leaned a little towards the side of the Branch Davidians – skipping some of the more troubling activities that they were involved in—but overall we were happy with the production. The show was based on both my dad’s book, Stalling for Time, which was published in 2010 as well as survivor David Thibodeau’s book (who is played by Rory Culkin in the series), so both sides had to be represented.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY? WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO VIRGINIA RUN, AND WHAT MADE YOU CHOSE THIS COMMUNITY?
My husband, Lucas, and I moved to Virginia Run in April of 2018 when I was 8 months pregnant with our third child. We moved from the townhome community in Little Rocky Run because we needed to upsize and because we loved the peaceful privacy, beautiful walking trails, and proximity to all our favorite spots. It was a great decision.
Please click here to view June 2020’s Horn.