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Nicolas Cage Is Set to Play Joe Exotic in a Dramatised Series About the 'Tiger King' Figure

Expect a blonde mullet-wearing Cage, plenty of tigers and (probably) some hefty overacting in this dramatised origin story.
By Sarah Ward
May 05, 2020
By Sarah Ward
May 05, 2020

Ever since Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness hit Netflix in mid-March, the docuseries has become a true-crime phenomenon. Given the story it tells, that's understandable. Focusing on former Oklahoma private zookeeper Joe Exotic, the show spins a 100-percent true tale filled with eccentric characters, wild animals, assassination plots, polygamy and bad mullets. By now, you've probably not only binged your way through the series, but also watched the Joel McHale-hosted special and spent too much time checking out Exotic's music videos.

If you're like everyone else with a social media account, you've likely also devoted a few hours to picking who should play Exotic, his pals and his enemies in a dramatised version of the story — because, unsurprisingly, that's in the works. Actually, more than one take on the tale is heading to the small screen, and one of them has pulled off one helluva casting feat, enlisting none other than Nicolas Cage to play the blonde-haired tiger aficionado, one-time US presidential candidate and current incarcerated felon.

As reported by Variety, Cage will step into Exotic's tight pants and flamboyant shirts, all in a scripted drama series that'll chart the latter's efforts "to keep his park even at the risk of losing his sanity". Think of it as the Joe Exotic origin story, chronicling how he took on that moniker, became a larger-than-life version of himself and found himself on his present path. While Exotic has received plenty of media attention in his time, particularly recently, this series will be based on Leif Reigstad's 2019 Texas Monthly article 'Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild'.

American Vandal showrunner Dan Lagana will hold the same role on this yet-to-be-named Joe Exotic drama, as well as writing and executive producing — but the big news is obviously Cage's involvement. After making more than 100 on-screen projects across four decades, this is the first time he'll be starring in a TV show on a regular basis.

Plus, the Vampire's Kiss, Face/Off, Con Air, Mandy and Color Out of Space actor isn't known for his subtlety, which makes him a perfect fit to play Exotic. Cage also has some recent experience with jungle animals, at least of the terrible CGI kind, thanks to 2019 action-drama Primal. It casts him as a big-game hunter chasing a rare white jaguar, which then gets loose on a ship alongside a notorious murderer — and yes, it's the type of over-the-top Cage film that has to be seen to be believed.

Just who'll be co-starring with Cage — who'll no doubt be at his overacting best — is yet to be announced. While Kate McKinnon is set to play Carole Baskin, the rival animal park owner that Exotic is in prison for trying to have killed, that's happening in a different series about the whole saga. And, according to Rob Lowe's Instagram, there's another project in the works that'll feature him in a mullet, as produced by Glee, American Horror Story and Pose's Ryan Murphy.

If you need a reminder as to why everyone's rushing to turn Exotic's story into a drama series, check out the Tiger King trailer below:

The Nicolas Cage-starring, yet-to-be-named Joe Exotic series doesn't yet have a release date — we'll update you when further details are announced.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is available to stream on Netflix.

Via Variety. Top image: Netflix.

Published on May 05, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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