OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR/Variety) – Nicholas Cage is set to play “Tiger King” Joe Exotic in a new eight-episode TV series, Variety Magazine says.
According to Variety, it is based on the Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild,” by Leif Reigstad.
Dan Lagana, known for the Emmy-nominated Netflix series ‘American Vandal,’ will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive producer. Cage will also be an executive producer on the show.
This is the second announced scripted series. The first scripted series was announced last year with Kate McKinnon to star as Carole Baskin as well as executive produce.
In 2018, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic” and former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Animal Park, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of murder-for-hire. Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage gave a person $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to Florida to carry out the murder of a Florida woman and “allegedly agreed to pay thousands more after the deed,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma.
A grand jury also indicted Maldonado-Passage on an additional 19 counts of wildlife charges, including the violation of the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act. Prosecutors say he shot and killed five tigers in October 2017 to make room in cages for other big cats, and sold tiger cubs. He was also accused of falsifying records relating to the tigers, lions and a baby lemur which were purportedly being donated or transported for exhibition, but were actually sold. Officials offered evidence in the form of recordings of Maldonado-Passage negotiating the hiring of the undercover FBI agent, who was posing as a hitman. When talking about payment, Maldonado-Passage reportedly said, “I’ll just sell a bunch of tigers.” The intended target of the hit was Carole Baskin, a chief critic of Maldonado-Passage. Baskin successfully sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark infringement in 2011, and was outspoken about the treatment of animals at the park. The defense claimed their client was framed. They say he was all talk and had no intention of wanting Baskin dead. The former Greater Wynnewood Animal Park owner was found guilty on all 19 counts earlier this year.
This newest series announcement comes from Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios.