Nicolas Cage to star as Joe Exotic in scripted ‘Tiger King’ series

It will explore how the big cat owner lost himself to a character of his own creation

Nicolas Cage has been cast to play Tiger King star Joe Exotic in an upcoming scripted series.

Released on Netflix back in March, the docu-series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness quickly became one of the most popular shows on television. The seven-part series follows a number of big cat owners, breeders and conservationists in the US, but primarily focuses on the bitter feud between Joe Exotic and rival Carole Baskin.

Netflix revealed last month that the series has been watched by a staggering 64 million households.


Now, according to Variety, an eight-episode series starring Nicolas Cage is being produced by Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios. It will be based on the Texas Monthly article Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into The World Of A Man Gone Wild, by Leif Reigstad.

Written and executive produced by American Vandal‘s Dan Lagana, the story will centre around Joe Schreibvogel (AKA Joe Exotic), an eccentric, exotic zookeeper in Oklahoma who fights to keep his park even at the risk of losing his sanity. It will explore how he became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation.

This will be the first time that Cage, who will also serve as an executive producer via Saturn Films, has ever taken on a television role.

This is the second scripted series based on Tiger King that has been announced. Last month, it was revealed that Kate McKinnon would play Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin in a new adaptation of her bitter rivalry with Joe Exotic, which is currently in the early stages of production.

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage (né Schreibvogel), is currently serving a 22-year sentence after being found guilty of paying a hitman $3,000 (£2,422) to unsuccessfully kill his enemy Baskin, an animal rights activist whom he’d accused of trying to derail his private zoo business. He is also serving time for 17 other wildlife-related charges.


Meanwhile, Tiger King subject Baskin has recently been tricked into doing an interview with two pranksters claiming to be Jimmy Fallon.

The animal rights activist was a key part of the Netflix show, which was released back in March, but she has been largely quiet since the docu-series dropped.

However, in a new video posted by YouTubers Josh Pieters and Archie Manners, the pair revealed that they approached Baskin pretending to be producers for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and requested a Zoom interview with the host — as has been the custom for late night shows in the current circumstances.

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