Kate McKinnon's 'Joe Exotic' Series Casts John Cameron Mitchell As Its Tiger King

The Joe Exotic series coming to NBC, Peacock, and USA Network has crowned its "Tiger King." John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) has been cast as Joe Exotic, opposite Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin, in a limited series based on the real-life rivals of the big cat world who shot to fame following Netflix's early-pandemic docuseries hit.

Variety reports that the Joe Exotic limited series starring Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin has cast John Cameron Mitchell to play the titular "Tiger King" himself. Mitchell will play Joe "Exotic" Schreibvogel, the convicted felon and big cat owner in Oklahoma whose rivalry with Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue would become the subject of many a podcast and TV series, most notably Netflix's Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness docuseries, which became a viral sensation early in the pandemic and prompted Hollywood to scramble to greenlight as many Joe Exotic projects as possible.

Written by Etan Frankel, the limited series is based on "true events following Carole Baskin (McKinnon), a big cat enthusiast, who learns that when fellow exotic animal lover Joe 'Exotic' Schreibvogel 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."

"I'm thrilled to take on the role of this modern folk antihero," said Mitchell, who is best known for creating and starring in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on both the stage and in the 2001 feature film. "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."

Mitchell, who has won a Tony Award for his turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and would earn a Golden Globe nomination for his acting in the feature film version, is no stranger to giving a camp performances, but seems like a better fit for the role than Nicolas Cage, the star of the Amazon series about Joe Exotic, whose over-the-top tendencies will probably tip the performance over into parody. And as a gay actor, it's likely that Mitchell will give more depth to a real-life person whose complicated (and abusive) relationship to the LGBTQ community is often overshadowed by Joe Exotic's larger-than-life personality.

Joe Exotic is currently the working title of the show, which is based on the Wondery Podcast of the same name hosted and reported by Robert Moor. Frankel and McKinnon are also executive producing alongside Wondery's Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy, and Aaron Hart.