Joseph Maldanado-Passage, the subject of Netflix's surprise hit documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, knows exactly who he wants to play him in a film or television adaptation. The convicted tiger collector, better known as "Joe Exotic," suggested Brad Pitt or David Spade could play him. There is already a project in the works, with Kate McKinnon cast as Maldonado-Passage's rival Carole Baskin.
Tiger King directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaikin told The Hollywood Reporter they recently spoke to Maldonad-Passage from prison, and said he did have casting ideas. "He would like Brad Pitt or David Spade to play him," Chaikin said. "He doesn't refer to David Spade as David Spade — he refers to him as 'Joe Dirt.'" Unfortunately for Joe Exotic, the actor who played Joe Dirt does not think he could do the part justice.
"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." Spade later suggested Matthew McConaughey to play manager John Reinke, Channing Tatum as John Finlay and Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow as Doc Antle's wives.
Coincidentally, Finlay, who was in a relationship with Maldonado-Passage, also thinks Tatum should play him. "He's always had a special place in my heart," Finlay told PEOPLE of the Magic Mike star. "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."
Even before Tiger King became a smash hit for Netflix, Hollywood was looking to dramatize Maldanado-Passage's story. Back in November, Deadline reported that McKinnon signed on to star in a limited series based on Robert Moor's podcast about Maldanado-Passage. Moor recently told Andy Cohen he believes Margot Robbie could play Maldanado-Passage, while Sam Rockwell has seriously been considered for the part.
Tiger King's success is partly to blame on its release during the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of Americans searching for entertainment while staying inside. Netflix is reportedly working on another episode, while Investigation Discovery announced an unofficial "sequel" focusing on Maldonado-Passage's claim that Baskin killed her late husband, Don Lewis. The ID series is also set to go into more detail on Antle and Jeff Lowe.
Chailkin and Goode told THR they were not focusing their attention on a sequel at the moment. "I say most of our thoughts right now are toward people's safety and health and their importance of people staying home. These are things that are still unfolding and we're thinking about it, but it's kind of hard to say," Chaikin said. "We're going to make a sequel — Locked Up With Joe," Goode joked.
Maldonado-Passage is in an Oklahoma prison, serving 22 years for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin and violations of the Engangered Species Act. He was recently put into isolation so he would not contract COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. He has not tested positive for it himself though.