Nicolas Cage to Star as Tiger King’s Joe Exotic in New Series

Nicolas Cage will step into Joe Exotic’s mullet as the producer of American Vandal plots a series based on the subject of Netflix’s Tiger King

Tiger King Joe Exotic Nicolas Cage
Photo: Netflix

Heeellpppppp, the simulation is being weird again!

According to a report from Variety, and definitely not a fever-dream you just had last night, Nicolas Cage is set to play “Tiger King” Joe Exotic in a new scripted series. 

The show is being developed by Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios. It does not have a network or streaming entity lined up yet but this is sure to be one of those “competitive situations” you hear so much about. While real-life eccentric former private zoo owner Joe Exotic is best known in the public eye for Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this project will be based on the Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild,” by Leif Reigstad.

Dan Lagana (American Vandal) and Paul Young (Key & Peele) optioned the project back in June of 2019, well before Tiger King set the world aflame. Lagana will serve as showrunner on this as of yet unnamed eight-episode series. 

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Tiger King: Murder, Mayham and Madness first premiered on Netflix on March 20, 2020. The story of exotic zoo owner Joe Exotic, the many other eccentric people in his orbit, and the murder-for-hire plot he ultimately hatched, captivated a nation already captive on its couches due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tiger King was Netflix’s most-watched series for weeks, with Variety reporting that it reached 34.3 million unique viewers in its first 10 days of streaming. The series even got the “special reunion episode” treatment in April. Joe Exotic didn’t attend of course because Joe Exotic is in jail.

The story of Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, and the rest of the animal world’s weirdest and brightest goes a lot further than the events of Tiger King though. Reigstad’s article delves into Exotic’s battle to keep his park and deep into the psyche of the man who lost himself to the caricature he created. This series will use the article as a jumping off point to explore Joseph Schreibvogel a.k.a. Joseph Maldonado-Passage a.k.a Joe Exotic.

Now to address the privately-owned and likely mistreated elephant in the room, Nicolas Cage doesn’t look a whole hell of a lot like Joe Exotic. That’s alright as a mullet wig and some piercings should do wonders. And if not, it only enhances the charm of this weird, weird story. This will actually mark the first television role of Cage’s career. Cage is a decorated film actor known for roles Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona, National Treasure, and many more. In recent years, his film choices have become more strange and eclectic, to better reflect his strange and eclectic talents. With that in mind, joining up to play Joe Exotic seems like the most natural choice in the world. 

This unnamed Joe Exotic series doesn’t have a release date yet but we will certainly stay on top of all the news to come.