Tara Reid in 'Talks' to Play Carole Baskin in 'Tiger King' Project, Her Agent Says

Sharknado star Tara Reid is reportedly "in talks" to star in a movie about Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue and the target of Joseph Maldonado-Passage's ire, according to her agent. It is not clear which of the many dramatizations of Maldonado-Passage's story Reid is linked to, as there are multiple in the works following the success of Netflix's Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness documentary series. One project has Nicolas Cage as Maldonado-Passage, who is better known as Joe Exotic, while another features Kate McKinnon as Baskin.

"We are in talks with the producers and she is being considered, that is all I can say at the moment as casting is on hold," the American Pie star's manager, Philippe Ashfield, told the New York Post Saturday. "Tara loves Tiger King and found the documentary extremely interesting. She feels she could get into the character of Carole Baskin very well … and she has a similar look to [Baskin]."

The seven-episode Tiger King series launched in March and has become one of the most popular original series in Netflix's history, as it caught on just as millions of Americans were forced to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. Netflix claims the series drew more than 34.3 million unique viewers in the first 10 days after its release. The show became so popular that Netflix commissioned a hastily-produced aftershow, The Tiger King and I, hosted by comedian Joel McHale and featuring interviews with the supporting cast. There are also rumors that co-director Eric Goode is looking to produce an additional episode under the Tiger King name, but would focus on Siegfried & Roy.

Netflix is not the only company trying to cash-in on Tiger King's success. Earlier this month, Variety reported that Cage has signed on to play Maldonado-Passage in a miniseries written by Dana Lagana (American Vandal) and Paul Young. It is based on Leif Regstrad's Texas Monthly article "Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild." Meanwhile, McKinnon signed on to star as Baskin in a Hulu series based on journalist Rob Moor's podcast on Maldonado-Passage, which served as the second season of Over My Dead Body. That project was first announced in November 2019, months before Tiger King was released.

Baskin caught wind of the McKinnon series, and issued a statement asking the show's producers not to use real cats. "The Wondery podcast, which is the basis for her series, explores the rampant breeding, abuse and exploitation of big cats by breeder and exhibitor Joe Exotic," she said last month. "It would be cruel to use real big cats in a television series about cruelty to big cats."


Maldonado-Passage is now serving a 22-year prison sentence at Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2019, he was convicted on 17 federal charges, related to hiring a hitman to kill Baskin and on violations of the Lacy Act and the Endangered Species Act. He has appealed his conviction, filing an $89 million wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against the government.