Written by on Mar 14, 2014. Posted in On Location

History Channel could film in south-west US for new Western miniseries Texas Rising

The History Channel could film in the south-west US for its new Western miniseries, tentatively titled Texas Rising. Featuring a cast led by Bill Paxton and Brendan Fraser, the drama will be History's second Western after Hatfields & McCoys, which co-starred Paxton and Kevin Costner.

Texas Rising will tell the story of the Texas Revolution of 1836, the battle between Texas colonists and Mexico that first resulted in the Republic of Texas and eventually led to Texas joining the United States in 1845.

“It's exciting to be back working with History and Bill Paxton, a team that made television history with Hatfields & McCoys,” said Executive Producer Leslie Greif.

“The battle for Texas independence was epic and really the battle for the future of America. We have Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated talent, a stellar ensemble cast is being set, and with this team we will seek to even further redefine and elevate the term 'event television’.”

Added Dirk Hoogstra, Executive Vice President and General Manager of History and sister channel H2: “From Hatfields & McCoys to The Bible to Vikings, History has made a major commitment to high-quality scripted historical dramas.

“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.”

History Channel has developed a penchant for international location filming for its scripted dramas. Vikings is filmed near Dublin in Ireland, while The Bible doubled Morocco for Middle Eastern locations. Hatfields & McCoys charts the true-life historical dispute between two rival families in 19th Century West Virginia and Kentucky, but the shoot largely doubled Romania for the US locations.

From Hatfields & McCoys to The Bible to Vikings, History has made a major commitment to high-quality scripted historical dramas.

Dirk Hoogstra, History Channel/H2

Texas Rising could become the first of the network’s scripted dramas to shoot in the US. The production will need filming locations that are a good match for the iconic desert conditions of the Lone Star State – which counts out a return trip to Romania – but a generous filming incentive will also be crucial to offset the production costs of a period miniseries.

The desert setting requirements limit the options for History and production companies A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Texas itself is a possibility and offers a base filming incentive of 20% for bigger-budgeted shoots, but the state doesn't have a history of handling large-scale productions of this sort.

New Mexico is the more obvious US choice as a Texas double, offering an appealing mix of desert wilderness and a generous filming incentive package that includes a 25% TV tax credit. Three of the biggest Western feature films of the last few years – Cowboys & Aliens, True Grit and The Lone Ranger – shot extensively in the state. In addition, filming facilities such as Albuquerque Studios are world-class.

Should History choose to search internationally, South Africa would be on the shortlist, as it offers the all-important blend of desert locations, infrastructure and filming incentives. Cape Town is doubling for California in the rescue TV drama SAF3 (pronounced ‘Safe’) and upcoming supernatural series Dominion is doubling the country for a dystopian Las Vegas.

For Texas Rising, however, History should be able to base production closer to home.

(Hatfields & McCoys photo: Kevin Lynch; Vikings photo: Take 5 Productions/History Channel)

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    There are 3 comments

  • Ron Keeney


    I can only hope this project will be filmed in Texas in areas where the actual events occurred, from the verdant plains of Gonzáles south of Bexar, in the neighboring wooded Hill Country along the Balcones Escarpment, and up near the old Waco Indian village on the Brazos. The Rangers did not generally patrol the desert áreas since there were no settlers living in those áreas to protect. If the producers acquire the services of Dr. Steven Hardín, an known expert on the Rangers and Texas History at the Texas Historical Commission it would go a Long way to producing an accurate and spell binding production.


  • Ron Keeney


    Dr. Hardín was, I believe, one of the historians who consulted on the highly accurate replication of the Alamo fortificatons of the 2003 movie.


  • David Magee


    Well considering that only 10% of Texas is actually a desert, that would make a pretty poor setting.

    The battle of San Jacinto (where Texas won its freedom) took place on the banks of Buffalo Bayou under spanish moss draped oaks and tall loblolly pines...a scene that would have been kin to that of areas around Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
    ( http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/8532/bayou.jpg )

    The Alamo took place at the foot of the hill country, an area that is heavily wooded with Live oaks, Cypress trees, and Cedar.
    ( http://www.hillcountrybobrecreation.com/in-the-texas-hill-country.jpg )

    Goliad took place in open costal prairie, a geography that is only really found in South East Texas and southern Louisiana...


    Gonzalez took place in the soft rolling hills between The Bayou's of South Eastern Texas and the rugged hills of the Hill country.... Oak Savannas, with lush green prairie shaded by big beautiful oaks.
    (http://www.tenagardiner.com/Landscapes/Chappel-Hill-TX/i-cRjJZ6G/17/L/Chappel%20Hill-L.jpg )

    So no deserts won't do........cause nothing happened in our deserts.