Production on Peacock's Joe Exotic TV series, a dramatization of the events made famous by Netflix's Tiger King docudrama, has started production and the first photos have arrived online showing off Hedwig and the Angry Inch actor John Cameron Mitchell in the role of Joe Exotic. People confirmed the production start with one of the first photos of Mitchell while our sister site PopCulture spotted another which you can find below. Opposite him in the series will be Kate McKinnon in the role of Carole Baskin, Exotic's real life "rival" and the person whom Exotic attempted to have killed resulting in his prison sentence.
"I'm thrilled to take on the role of this modern folk antihero," Mitchell said previously in a statement. "Joe and I are the same age and like him, I grew up queer in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas so I feel like I know a little bit about this guy and his desperate attempt to conquer an inhospitable world." Steven O'Neill, executive vice president of casting and talent development for series producer UCP added: "We are so excited to have John Cameron Mitchell, an adored icon of the LGBTQ community, take on this compelling role. His casting speaks to our ongoing vision of universal storytelling, and we can't wait for our audiences to experience the show."
The new series isn't based on Netflix's version of the story but rather the Wondery Podcast series named for the bizarre zookeeper turned convicted felon (Wondery's podcast actually debuted two weeks prior to the Netflix series).
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McKinnon will executive produce the series in addition to starring, Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy, and Aaron Hart will also executive produce. Justin Tipping (Flatbush Misdemeanors) will direct the show's first four episodes. Black Widow director Cate Shortland will direct episodes five through eight. The series description for the show reads:
"Joe Exotic (wt) centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), a big cat enthusiast, who learns that fellow exotic animal lover Joe "Exotic" Schreibvogel (Mitchell) is breeding and using his big cats for profit. She sets out to shut down his venture, inciting a quickly escalating rivalry. But Carole has a checkered past of her own and when the claws come out, Joe will stop at nothing to expose what he sees as her hypocrisy. The results prove dangerous."
Other cast members in the series include Kyle MacLachlan as Howard Baskin, William Fichtner as Rick Kirkham, Sam Keeley as John Finlay, Nat Wolff as Travis Maldonado, and Dean Winters as Jeff Lowe.