US actor Nicolas Cage is set to play Joe Exotic, the subject of the hit Netflix docuseries Tiger King, in a new eight-episode limited drama that marks the Hollywood star’s first major TV role.
The series, which is expected to head to market in the coming days, is being produced by US-based Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios.
It is based upon the Texas Monthly article Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into The Mind Of A World Gone Mad by Leif Reigstad, which was optioned by CBS TV Studios last June. American Vandal showrunner Dan Lagana will helm, write and executive produce for CBS on the project.
Now well-known due to his appearance in Netflix’s Tiger King, US former zookeeper Joseph ‘Joe Exotic’ Maldonado-Passage is serving 22 years in prison due to his role in an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill rival Carole Baskin, who ran animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue.
Maldonado-Passage has also accused Baskin in the disappearance of her former husband Don Lewis.
This is the first TV series for Oscar-winner Cage, whose big-screen credits include Leaving Las Vegas, Con Air and the National Treasure franchise.
ViacomCBS said in a statement that the untitled project will “explore how he became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation.”
Tapping into Tiger King
The drama is the latest show to emerge following Netflix’s Tiger King series, with US cablenet ID last month ordering Investigating The Strange World Of Joe Exotic, which revolves around the tiger breeder and his role in the alleged murder plot.
The show will use exclusive footage that has never been aired to further explore the story, which ID describes as the “definitive sequel” to the Netflix hit. It is being produced by US-based Conveyor Media, with Theresa McKeown and Colin Whelan executive producing, and Rebecca Sirmons attached as co-executive producer.
Netflix cited Tiger King as a key driver in its subscriber surge over the last quarter, along with the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown and La Casa De Papel (aka Money Heist).