Ever since the premiere of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness back in March, viewers have gone crazy over the nefarious world of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic. Originally a seven-part series, Netflix has since added a bonus eighth episode, while TMZ had its own hour-long special in April.
There's also been plenty of speculation about a dramatization of the docu-series, which already has one project in development starring Kate McKinnon. While actors have publicly squabbled on social media over the coveted role of Joe Exotic, Variety broke the news on Monday that it would be none other than Nicolas Cage. The famously-eccentric actor, known both for his unique delivery as well as unusual role choices, might not have been everyone's first choice, but fans were excited nonetheless. It will also mark the first time the Oscar-winner has worked in television.
In addition to Cage, Dan Lagana will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive producer. Lagana was the creative mind behind the mocku-series American Vandal, which premiered on Netflix back in 2017. With so much material to draw from and wildly creative people both in front of and behind the camera, the new series is already shaping up to be must-watch TV. Here's what we know about it so far.
It's Not Based on 'Tiger King'
While Tiger King has made Joe Exotic a household name, the upcoming series will be based on a 2019 Texas Monthly article on the former zoo owner, "Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild." Like the Netflix series, the article details his upbringing, his personality as well as his arrest.
What It's About
The story centers around Joe Schreibvogel, better known as Joe Exotic and his ongoing fight to keep his private roadside zoo in rural Oklahoma at the risk of his sanity. The as-yet-untitled series won't pull any punches in its exploration of how this once-unassuming man became Joe Exotic, and how he lost his own humanity to a character he created.
The Appeal of Nic Cage
Nic Cage is an actor who's famous for his off-screen theatrics, too. He named his son Kal-El, owned a rare dinosaur skull as well as a haunted house in New Orleans. Essentially, his persona has earned a following all its own, and it seems that it would lend itself to his interpretation of Joe Exotic.
The Work of Dan Lagana
After co-creating Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous with filmmaker Bo Burnham, Dan Lagana also worked on the showrunner of Deadbeat before American Vandal premiered back in 2017. The series, about an investigation behind some vulgar drawings in a high school, was Netflix's most-streamed show that year, and later earned Lagana a Peabody Award.
Other 'Tiger King' Projects
Along with the upcoming series starring Cage, Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon is set to play his nemesis, Carole Baskin in another series entirely. This one won't be based on Tiger King either, and instead will draw its inspiration from Joe Exotic, the second season of Wondery's Over My Dead Bodypodcast.
Nic Cage's Upcoming Projects0comments
Cage also made waves after it was announced he'd star in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a meta-satire on showbiz, written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten. The actor would star as himself, who is desperate to get into a new Quentin Tarantino movie while trying to save his relationship with his teenage daughter. He also gets visits from an egotistical 1990 version of himself who makes fun of him for making bad movies and not being a real star.
He's also set to (finally) star in the long-awaited National Treasure 3, and said in 2018 that he'd quit acting in "three or four years." This could mean his portrayal of Joe Exotic may be one of his last roles -- as it sure won't be the Face/Off reboot he's not involved in.