Nicolas Cage as Tiger King? He’s set to play Joe Exotic in new TV series

Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage has been cast as Joe Exotic, a.k.a the Tiger King, in a new TV series.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Hollywood has officially crowned its Tiger King — and no, it’s not Dax Shepard.

Nicolas Cage has been cast as Joe Exotic, overnight star of Netflix’s wild docuseries “Tiger King,” in a forthcoming limited series from CBS Television Studios and Imagine Television Studios, Cage’s manager confirmed Monday. The coveted part of the infamous Oklahoma zookeeper marks the “National Treasure” actor‘s first TV series role.

The series, based on the 2019 Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild,” will be helmed by “American Vandal” showrunner Dan Lagana and executive produced by Cage for Saturn Films; Brian Grazer (“Empire”) and Samie Kim Falvey for Imagine; Paul Young (“Key & Peele”) for Make Good Content; and Scott Brown and Megan Creydt for Texas Monthly. Lagana will double as an executive producer.


Shortly after Netflix’s “Tiger King” debuted in March, several actors — including Shepard, Edward Norton and Thomas Lennon — got into a big cat fight on Twitter about who should portray the tiger-taming, gunslinging, country-singing gay polygamist and former presidential/gubernatorial candidate in the inevitable scripted adaptation of Exotic’s see-it-to-believe-it story.

The real Exotic, who is currently in prison for animal abuse and a murder-for-hire plot, is “absolutely thrilled” about his newfound notoriety, according to the directors of Netflix’s “Tiger King.” Other upcoming projects from Cage include “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” “Pig” and “Croods 2.”

Operating under the working title “Joe Exotic,” CBS and Imagine will begin shopping their eight-episode series in “the next few days.”