Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 14 July 2020

'Tiger King' to become TV series: Nicolas Cage to star as Joe Exotic in new show

The Oscar-winning actor will portray the now-jailed zoo owner in an eight-episode show

Nicolas Cage will portray zookeeper Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, in a new TV series. AP
Nicolas Cage will portray zookeeper Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, in a new TV series. AP

Nicolas Cage will star in a television series about flamboyant US zookeeper Joe Exotic, the star of hit documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

The Oscar-winning American actor will also executive produce the show based on a magazine article about Exotic, who recently shot to fame as the subject of the wildly popular docuseries, Cage’s publicist said on Monday, May 4.

The surreal story of Exotic – a mullet-wearing private zoo owner now in prison for a murder contract – has become a cultural phenomenon following the release of the Netflix documentary.

Tiger King was watched a reported 34 million times in only 10 days following its release in March, as the world went under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cage’s series will be his first major foray into television, and is the second show known to be in the works about Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage.

According to Variety magazine, the eight-episode series will be created by CBS and Imagine’s Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning producer of A Beautiful Mind.

The show will explore how Maldonado-Passage “became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation”, the Hollywood trade publication said.

Another television series based on a podcast about Exotic is in development.

Cage, who won the Best Actor Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas in 1995, has starred in numerous box-office hits including Face/Off, Con Air and National Treasure.

Maldonado-Passage, 57, was handed a 22-year prison sentence in 2019, for animal abuse and plotting to kill business rival Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue.

Joshua Dial, Exotic’s former campaign manager, said the zoo owner is enjoying his new-found fame following the documentary’s release.

Zoo owner Joe Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in jail in 2019. AFP
Zoo owner Joe Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in jail in 2019. AFP

“He is communicating with some of his old fans, and he is having them run Facebook pages. So he is getting all the messages people are sending,” Dial said in The Tiger King and I, a 40-minute special that was released last month.

“All the money people are raising for him, he is getting all that. He is in the loop on this and he is loving every minute of it.”

Updated: May 5, 2020 02:38 PM

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