Netflix’s wildly popular docu-series Tiger King introduced the world to Joe Exotic’s story of “murder, mayhem, and madness” that took him from his zoo to prison. It was a series about a total train wreck, one that people couldn’t help but stop and gawk at even as they knew looking was wrong. But morally dubious source material has never stopped Hollywood from cashing in before, and it won’t stop it now. NBC has ordered a series based on the wild true story. First, we heard that Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon would star as the infamous Carole Baskin. And now, John Cameron Mitchell joins the project as Joe Exotic himself.
In August 2020, Variety reported that NBCUniversal Television has given a multi-platform order for a limited series based on Tiger King and Carole Baskin. It is currently operating under the working title of Joe Exotic. The show will air on NBC, its streaming service Peacock, and USA Network. Etan Frankel (Friday Night Lights, Shameless) will serve as writer and executive producer. April 2021 brings the news, also via Variety, of Mitchell’s casting as Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel.
Mitchell, who is best known as the creator and lead of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, told Variety, “Joe and I are the same age and like him, I grew up queer in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas so I feel like I know a little bit about this guy and his desperate attempt to conquer an inhospitable world.”
The series will also feature SNL‘s Kate McKinnon as the big-cat rights activist Baskin, whose own questionable past came to light after she tried to stop Joe Exotic from profiting from his animals. McKinnon will also serve as an executive producer, along with Hernan Lopez, Marshall Levy, and Aaron Hart of Wondery Podcast, where the ridiculous story was first brought to life.
As unbelievable as all this seems, this isn’t the first series about the big-cat loving foes. NBC’s Joe Exotic is a completely separate project from the previously announced Tiger King series with Nicolas Cage.
Featured Image: NBC/Netflix
Originally published on August 25, 2020.