Tiger King biopic dream casting: Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Zac Efron, David Spade
Warning: Tiger King spoilers ahead.
Tigers, private zoos, bad singing, polygamy and a murder-for-hire have made the new Netflix documentary seriesa huge hit. So with a scripted biopic on the way, it’s not surprising well-known actors like David Spade, Dax Shepard and Edward Norton want in on the action.
The true-crime tale tells the incredible story of the vicious rivalry between eccentric Oklahoma zoo owner Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka Joe Exotic) and his nemesis, big-cat activist Carole Baskin, who may or may not be as innocent as she seems.
The Netflix docuseries also includes aincluding other big-cat zoo owners, a reality TV producer, a former strip club owner, an amateur hitman, a swinging couple and multiple husbands, including one who’s missing.
NBC Universal has already optioned the incredible story for an upcoming miniseries with SNL, as well as serving as an executive producer.
While McKinnon would be a great choice to play Baskin in the biopic too, plenty of actors would be perfect to portray Joe Exotic and the other people in this freaky story. Below are some ideas of which performers could do this upcoming series justice. Got more? Share them in the comments.
Joe Exotic in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
Gay zoo owner Joe Exotic is a lover of big cats, mullets, guns, country music and flashy clothes. He’s also in jail after being convicted for hiring someone to murder Baskin. The actor who takes on this role will need to channel an Oklahoma redneck persona, and be comfortable hugging tigers.
Bless This Mess actor Dax Shepard has already been campaigning on Twitter to play Joe Exotic. “If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken, Shepard tweeted on March 25. “He might be a good pick considering his background in comedies such as Without a Paddle, The Ranch, Idiocracy, My Name Is Earl and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.
Norton as private detective Lionel Essrog in Motherless Brooklyn.
But not so fast, Dax Shepard.is also campaigning to play Joe Exotic. In fact, Norton responded to Shepard’s tweet about wanting to play the unusual zookeeper with the tweet, “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?”
Norton has played his share of unusual characters in the films Fight Club, American History X, The Incredible Hulk and Birdman, so perhaps his take on Joe Exotic is just what we need.
Brad Pitt in the sci-fi film Ad Astra.
20th Century Fox
While some might have trouble picturing glamorousstar in the lead, Joe Exotic himself has already said that he hopes the actor will portray him.
“He would like Brad Pitt or David Spade to play him,” Tiger King docuseries directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin told the Hollywood Reporter. Pitt would do an excellent job as the charismatic zookeeper, but he might have to undergo some serious makeup and prosthetics to look a bit more Joe Exotic trashy.
David Spade in the 2001 film Joe Dirt.
Another actor Joe Exotic said he wants to play him is David Spade. Except instead of calling him David Space, Exotic simply refers to the actor by his character Joe Dirt, from the 2001 movie of the same name. It makes sense considering both men really know how to show off a mullet hairstyle. Spade is also a fan of both the Tiger King docuseries and its companion podcast. Spade has even posted YouTube videos in which he interviews people who appeared in the show.
Nicolas Cage in Con Air.
Nicolas Cage is an easy pick to play Joe Exotic. After all, Cage is the kind of actor who’s made a career out of playing wacky characters in movies like Raising Arizona, Ghost Rider, Mandy, Kick-Ass, Vampire’s Kiss and The Wicker Man. He’s even going to. Cast him already.
Big cat activist Carole Baskin in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, is quite vocal about her opposition to Joe Exotic’s zoo as well as to other big-cat collectors. But she might also be harboring a darker side given allegations her missing husband might have met with foul play.
Kate McKinnon as Marianne Williamson on Saturday Night Live.
Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET
Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon is already planning to play the offbeat animal rights activist in the upcoming miniseries. But she would have been a top pick regardless. The comedian has a special talent for mimicking real-world women from politicians, and to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Charlize Theron in 2017’s Atomic Blonde.
Charlize Theron could also pull off playing Baskin. While the real-life big-cat activist isn’t the kind of character Theron typically tackles, it would be exciting to see her undergo the same metamorphosis she went through to play real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 movie Monster.
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey.
Warner Bros. Pictures
can play characters that are both complex and off-the-charts crazy, as she showed with the violently giddy DC Comics character Harley Quinn in 2020’s . She’s also had experience playing real-world criminals, like the disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in the 2017 movie I, Tonya.
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle handing big cats in Tiger King.
Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle is the another wild-animal collector and the polyamorous owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, a big-cat private zoo that Baskin also wanted to shut down.
With 7 films being released in 2019, the stand-up Jim Gaffigan has slowly become a movie star.
Much like Joe Exotic, Doc Antle is quite the character. Comedian and actorcould play the peculiar zoo owner with a humorous tone. Plus it would be entertaining to see Gaffigan play a salacious role.
John C. Reilly
The game’s afoot for John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell in 2018’s Holmes and Watson.
John C. Reilly can usually be seen in movies next to comedy partner-in-crime Will Ferrell in films like Step Brothers and Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby. Reilly almost looks a lot like Antle normally, plus he’s already gifted at playing cringe-worthy characters on the big screen.
Steve Martin knows a thing or two about comedy.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET
Seasoned actor and comedianmight be bit of a wild card pick to play Antle, but he could add more humor to Antle’s crazy antics. Not to mention it would be delightful to see Martin acting in a live-action film again, since he mostly just does voice acting as of late.
TV producer Rick Kirkham in Tiger King.
Joe Exotic hired experienced television producer Rick Kirkham to film a reality TV show about his life in hopes of fame. But Exotic stressed Kirkham out so much during their professional relationship Kirkham ended up having a mental breakdown.
Steve Buscemi as kidnapper Carl Showalter in the 1996 movie Fargo.
Steve Buscemi might be the perfect choice to play the tortured reality TV producer. Kirkham is constant frustrated with Exotic’s quest to become a household name, and Buscemi has a certain talent for playing people exasperated by other characters. Plus, seeing Buscemi with a ponytail is already comedy gold.
Walton Goggins in 2018’s Tomb Raider.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Best known for his role as Boyd Crowder in Justified, Walton Goggins can play a character who’s talented at telling long-winded tales. Kirkham feels like a Tiger King breakout star just for his ability to recount all of Exotic’s bizarre capers in a way that makes the audience want to hear more.
Jeff Lowe in Tiger King.
As the current owner of the Greater Wynnewood Zoo and an exotic-animal collector, Jeff Lowe is mostly seen in the docuseries riding around in his sports cars with a tiger in the passenger seat.
Sam Rockwell in 2009’s Moon.
Sam Rockwell is the perfect choice to play the unconventional and somewhat sleazy Lowe. In the docuseries, Lowe throws private cub-petting parties in Las Vegas just so he can attract beautiful women and have sex with them. Seeing Rockwell throw a lavish tiger cub party would be a biopic highlight for sure.
Will Arnett with Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.
Another great choice for Lowe is actor Will Arnett, who is best known for his character George Oscar “Gob” Bluth II in the comedy TV series. Arnett’s comedic talents could add extra absurdity to Lowe.
Dillon Passage is Joe Exotic’s current husband who stands by his man even when Exotic is in prison.
Zac Efron plays Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile serial killer Ted Bundy.
Zac Efron might have started his acting career as a teen idol in Disney’s High School Musical, but after depicting serial killerin 2019’s , it’s obvious the actor has range. Efron could also give Passage a higher profile in the biopic since he’s only in the docuseries toward the end of Exotic’s sordid tale.
Joe Exotic’s marriage to former husband John Finlay ended after Exotic had him arrested for assault. Finlay later ran Exotic’s Safari Bar near the zoo.
Dave Bautista plays the Replicant Sapper in Blade Runner 2049.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET
Dave Bautista already looks like he could be John Finlay’s doppelganger. In the docuseries, Finlay is seen shirtless most of the time to show off his muscles and Joe Exotic tattoo. Usually Bautista plays rigid tough guys in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Blade Runner 2049. As Finlay, Bautista could show off his softer, more romantic side.
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