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Nicolas Cage to Play Joe Exotic in ‘Tiger King’ Adaptation

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It’s been getting harder to avoid anything Tiger King-related lately. The popular Netflix series has spawned endless conspiracy theory threads and memes online. Many people have wondered who would be perfect to play Joe Exotic in a TV adaptation. Luckily, Nicolas Cage will be filling that role.

Locked In a Cage

The actor will be portraying Exotic in a scripted eight-episode series. Dan Lagana, who worked on Netflix’s American Vandal, will be the showrunner. Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios will co-produce this series together. No network is attached to this show yet. As expected, many fans want Netflix to air this program.

As a shock to many, this will be Cage’s first legitimate TV role in his illustrious career. He did appear in the 1981 pilot for The Best of Times, but the show was never picked up. The last time Cage appeared on TV was in a cameo appearance on a 2012 episode of Saturday Night Live.

A History of Portrayals

This won’t be the first time Cage will be portraying a real-life person on screen. In his career, the actor has brought the stories of several individuals to life. In 1986, he played professional sculler Ned Hanlan in The Boy in Blue. In 2002, Cage portrayed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation. Kaufman, who won an Oscar for their work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, wrote the film.

In 2006, Cage portrayed police officer John McLoughlin in World Trade Center, which is based on the September 11th attacks. In 2016, the actor portrayed naval officer Charles B. McVay III in USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage. The film tells the story of the USS Indianapolis, which was destroyed in World War II.

Everyone Wanted In

The role of Exotic was pursued by a handful of actors. It all started when Dax Shepard posted a photo of Joe Exotic with his face photoshopped on it. “If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken,” Sheppard tweeted. A slew of actors jokingly got in the action in the thread. “Um, step aside, pal. You’re way too young and buff and you know it. You could probably pull off Maldonado still, actually. Wouldn’t that be fun?” Edward Norton replied. Jared Leto posted several photos of himself with a stuffed tiger with the hashtag #JaredLetoTigerKing.

joe exotic tiger king

Netflix / IMDb

So Much Exotic In the Works

Cage will have some competition thanks to other Tiger King adaptations. Rob Lowe is working on a Tiger King show with producer Ryan Murphy. The Golden Globe-nominated actor will star as Exotic in this series. Since Murphy has an exclusive deal with Netflix, this series could wind up on the streaming service.

There’s also the  Tiger King limited series being produced by Kate McKinnon. The actress will portray Carole Baskin on the series. Fortunately for Cage, no one has been cast for Exotic on this adaptation. This series will be inspired by Wondery’s “Over My Dead Body” podcast. Much like Cage and Lowe’s shows, this one also doesn’t have a network attached to it.

If that’s not enough, Investigation Discovery will have their own show based on the case. Titled Investigating the Strange World of Joe Exotic, the show is said to dive deeper into Exotic’s world. This series will feature Exotic himself in an in-depth investigation. No premiere date has been released just yet. This series will be produced by Conveyor Media.

With so much Tiger King hype, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Hollywood decides to bring this story to the big screen. When it happens, you can expect everyone coming out of the woodwork to be in the flick. 

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