Entertainment TV Nicolas Cage set to play Tiger King’s Joe Exotic in new series
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Nicolas Cage set to play Tiger King’s Joe Exotic in new series

Joe Exotic's first choices to play him were Brad Pitt and David Spade.
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Nicolas Cage is set to star as infamous zookeeper Joe Exotic in a scripted TV series portraying the characters and events made famous by the Netflix docuseries Tiger King.

The eight-episode series is being produced will be is based on the Texas Monthly article Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild, according to industry journal Variety.

The series will tell the story of Joe Exotic (real name Joe Schreibvogel), the eccentric owner of an Oklahoma tiger park “who fights to keep his zoo even at the risk of losing his sanity”.

Schreibvogel is currently serving a 22-year sentence in a Texas prison for attempting hire a hitman to murder animal-rights campaigner, and rival tiger owner, Carole Baskin.

This Netflix documentary centres Joe Exotic and the private zoo he set up on an Oklahoma horse farm in the 1990s. 

Joe’s increasing love of publicity and advanced paranoia had him preparing for a ‘small Waco’ when he attracted the attention of law enforcement, spurred on by the aggressive campaign against self-proclaimed big cat conservationist Baskin. 

The dramatised TV series will explore how Schreibvogel became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation, Variety reported.

The role of Joe Exotic will be Cage’s first foray into television.

Cage, who won an Academy Award for best actor in the 1995 movie Leaving Las Vegas, and was nominated for the 2002 comedy Adaptation, is known for often playing offbeat characters.

Schreibvogel has previously said his preference would be for Brad Pitt or the diminutive comedian David Spade to play him in any adaptation.

tiger king
Spade’s Joe Dirt had the ideal ‘Exotic’ hair. Photo: Sony

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter this month, one of the Tiger King’s directors, Rebecca Chaiklin, said Schreibvogel had suggested the pair – although he referred to Spade as “Joe Dirt”, his character from the 2001 comedy of the same name.

In Joe Dirt, Spade sports a flowing blonde mullet, similar to that of Joe Exotic.