John Cameron Mitchell Will Play Joe Exotic In New 'Tiger King' Series

by Madison Vanderberg
Monica Schipper/Netflix

The NBC Joe Exotic series finds its star in actor John Cameron Mitchell

Over a year ago, as the world was reeling from post-Tiger King mania, NBC announced that it was creating a scripted series based on the big cat enthusiast Joe “Tiger King” Exotic and his longtime rivalry with his arch nemesis Carole Baskin. Comedy genius and Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon was set to play Baskin and then news about the project, just, stopped. Then, on April 19, 2021 the show found its star in actor John Cameron Mitchell, who will pay Exotic, and it sounds like we’re about to slide right back into our Tiger King obsession because this cast is iconic.

John Cameron Mitchell’s most famous role is as the co-creator and star of Hedwig in the iconic gender queer punk rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

However, most millennials will probably recognize him as Aidy Bryant’s shitty boss on her Hulu series Shrill.

The more I look at gifs of Mitchell, the more I see it. This man truly is the Joe Exotic.

“I’m thrilled to take on the role of this modern folk antihero,” Mitchell said in a statement about the role (via Deadline). “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.”

As for McKinnon, she is absolutely perfect in the role as probably-husband-murdering big cat enthusiast Carole Baskin.

Daniele Venturelli/Getty and Netflix

Although the Netflix series tackled all sorts of Tiger King lore, from Exotic losing his zoo to Jeff Lowe, to Exotic’s honestly kinda-predatory relationships with young men, the scripted NBC series will focus on the relationship and rivalry between Exotic and Baskin.

“The limited series 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,” reads the show’s blurb on Deadline.

Though the Netflix doc made ~Tiger King~ a household name, this new show was already in the works before anyone binge-watched the docu-series. The new NBC show is actually based on the Joe Exotic: Tiger King podcast, which was released a few weeks before the streaming service’s take.

Also, for those keeping track at home, this is just one of two (!) Tiger King-inspired scripted shows. Amazon is also prepping a similar show with Nicolas Cage starring as Exotic. What a time to be alive.