In perhaps the best casting news update you’ll get all week, it looks like Nicolas Cage is set to play the one and certainly the only Joe Exotic in a new scripted TV series. Interest in the life and charges against Exotic surged following the release of the hit Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness back in March. Since then, the internet has been agog with curiosity about Exotic and the darker side of exotic animal ownership here in the United States. Additionally, this is the second scripted series based on a Tiger King subject in addition to the Carole Baskin-focused series starring Kate McKinnon.
Given all of the excitement around Tiger King and Exotic, it’s no surprise Variety is reporting a new scripted TV series is in the works. What is a surprise is Cage’s casting, although that initial surprise wears off quickly when you realize literally nobody else could play Exotic. Cage’s, erm, unique on-screen energy is undeniably the kind of energy you’d imagine would be needed to play Exotic convincingly. In addition to Cage’s casting, Variety notes American Vandal writer Dan Lagana will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive producer on the still-untitled, eight-episode scripted series which will be adapted from Leif Reigstad‘s Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild” which he and Paul Young optioned. The series will also be produced by CBS Television Studios and Imagine Television Studios. Brian Grazer and Samie Kim Falvey will executive produce for Imagine, Cage will executive produce via Saturn Films, and Scott Brown and Megan Creydt will executive produce for Texas Monthly.
The Cage-starring series will follow “story centers around Joe Schreibvogel, a.k.a Joe Exotic, an eccentric, exotic zookeeper in Oklahoma who fights to keep his park even at the risk of losing his sanity. The series will live in the lion’s den with Joe, explore how he became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation,” according to Variety. With Lagana and Cage already on board the project, it’s likely this new scripted series will possibly be taking a more comedic approach to the events of Exotic’s life before he was incarcerated. One thing’s for certain: This show will absolutely be one of the most entertaining offerings at the time of its release with Cage at the helm.