'Tiger King': Joe Exotic's Ex-Husband John Finlay Wants Either Channing Tatum or Shia LaBeouf to Play Him in Adaptation

John Finlay, the ex-husband of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness subject Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, knows exactly who he would like to see play him in a film or television adaptation of Maldonado-Passage's life. Finlay suggested Channing Tatum or Shia LaBeouf could play him when a screen adaptation happens. A scripted series is reportedly in the works already, with Kate McKinnon signed to play Maldonado-Passage's rival, Carole Baskin.

"He's always had a special place in my heart," Finlay said of Tatum in an interview with PEOPLE. "He did a shout-out to my distant cousin; she died of stage-four brain cancer. When he did his shout-out, he did it because it was on her bucket list."

Finlay claimed his relative wanted a kiss from Tatum, and he sent her a personalized video message. Sadly, his cousin died about six years ago at age 18. Tatum "has a special place in my heart because of that," Finlay said. "But he's [also] a really good actor, and a lot of people are putting names out there with him in it."

If Tatum is too busy to play him, Finlay has a backup plan: LaBeouf.

"He would probably be a good choice because with a beard he can look like me, and he can relate to me," Finlay told PEOPLE.

Finlay is heavily featured in Tiger King as one of Maldonado-Passage's ex-husbands. He was in a relationship with Maldonado-Passage, better known as "Joe Exotic," from 2003 to 2014. As seen in the series, he was "married" to Maldonado-Passage alongside Travis Maldonado in a strange wedding ceremony in which they became a "throuple" in 2014. Finlay is actually heterosexual, as revealed later in the series, and impregnated a receptionist at Maldonado-Passage's zoo.

Maldonado-Passage is now in prison, serving a 22-year sentence after he was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill Baskin, as well as violations of the Endangered Species Act. Tiger King co-director Rebecca Chaiklin told The Hollywood Reporter Maldonado-Passage would like to see Brad Pitt or David Spade play him in a movie.

Back in November, Deadline reported McKinnon signed on to star in a limited series based on the second season of the Over My Dead Body podcast, which centered on Maldonado-Passage. Robert Moor, who hosted the podcast, recently told Andy Cohen Sam Rockwell's name came up as a possible candidate to play Maldonado-Passage, although he suggested Margot Robbie could play Joe Exotic.

"Just look at her eyes, that's the thing, if you look at her eyes, she has these eyes that are just like Joe's," Moor said. "I think she would do a great job with it."

Meanwhile, Spade said he did not think he should play Maldonado-Passage. Instead, he suggested Woody Harrelson.


"I don't know if I could," Spade told Entertainment Tonight. "That's why I don't really push it or jump in on it, with all these funny debates. It just looks too fun. ... I know Woody Harrelson is funny as that guy Joe."

Photo credit: Netflix