Tiger King's Joe Exotic Reveals Who He Wants to Play Him in Adaptation

Netflix's Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness has become a full-on cultural phenomenon with the controversial and colorful man at its center -- Joe Exotic -- being featured not only in the streaming giant's true crime docuseries, but in a podcast from Wondery. Well before Tiger King's debut, a limited series based on that podcast was announced to be in development with Kate McKinnon set to star as Joe Exotic's nemesis Carole Baskin. But when it comes to who will play Joe, that's still up in the air, but the real Joe definitely has his own ideas of who he thinks would do him justice.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tiger King directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin said that Joe would like to see either Brad Pitt or David Spade play him in a movie or televisions show, but he doesn't actually refer to Spade by name.

"He would like Brad Pitt or David Spade to play him," Chaiklin said. "He doesn't refer to David Spade as David Spade -- he refers to him as 'Joe Dirt,'"

In case the reference is one that you don't get, Joe Dirt is a 2001 adventure comedy that stars Spade as the titular character, a "white trash loser” who ends up on an adventure seeking out his parents. By the end of the film, he ends up with a found family and has won over the respect of various people he helped along the way as the journey uncovered Joe's finer qualities. The character, notably, has a pretty epic mullet -- something that is also a bit of a signature part of Joe Exotic's look.

It's not really a surprise that Joe Exotic would be interested in seeing "Joe Dirt" portray him given the visual similarity and fans of Tiger King have also made the comparison. Fan artist BossLogic recently created a pretty sweet fan poster mixing Exotic with Spade's character. The result was pretty great.

While it remains to be seen who will actually play Exotic in the limited series, as we mentioned McKinnon is set to play Baskin, but Baskin herself has some ideas about how the series should handle what will certainly be an important element of things: the cats. Baskin would like the series to use CGI instead of real cats.

"Kate McKinnon is a wonderful actress. Big Cat Rescue implores Kate McKinnon to not use real big cats and cubs in the making of her series," Baskin said in a statement. "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. It would be cruel to use big cats in a television series about cruelty to big cats."


"We hope McKinnon has a passion for animals and that her series will focus on the horrible lives captive big cats lead when exploited by breeders like Joe Exotic," the statement continued. "We further hope she urges the public to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act that would end the cub petting abuse in America."

All seven episodes of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness are streaming on Netflix.

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