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7 better actors to play Joe Exotic in the upcoming Tiger King mini-series

12:56 PM EDT on April 22, 2021

It's been five years since the Netflix documentary series about Joe Exotic came out. Wait... let me check my notes... last year? Well, it certainly feels like it's been that long.

The Hollywood cycle is catching up, and we're finally getting a dramatized version of the story, long after anyone still really cares about it. Here's the details from Variety:

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...

That's not a bad cast, but it could be spiced up a little bit. Here's who I'd like to see play Joe:

Brad Pitt

Even though he barely lived here, Oklahoma can claim Brad, so he's got the credibility. For one of the world's hugest stars, he still has the acting chops and versatility to play a deranged tiger man. And if you hear him in casual interviews, he's still got that drawl of our region. But casting him would most likely wreck the budget.


David Spade

Some people think that Joe Exotic's entire person was based on Joe Dirt – minus the tigers, drugs, and living in a male harem. Either way, it would make sense to get the guy who inspired Joe Exotic to play Joe Exotic.


Diedrich Bader

Depending on how the script is treating Joe, Diedrich is great at playing 'aw-shucks' kinda rednecks. He's very funny, and has had some iconic bit roles over the years. For some reason, his delivery of the line 'Doing drywall at the new McDonalds' in Office Space leaves me in tears every time.


James Franco

Franco is a dude that excels at playing weirdo eccentrics. For example, take his flawless performance of the flawed director Tommy Wiseau in his film The Disaster Artist. He'd bring both humanity and humor to the bizarre personality of Joe Exotic.


Van Shea Iven

It could work.


Danny McBride

We've all seen Danny in cult classics such as the television series Eastbound & Down and movies like The Foot Fist Way. He can rock a mullet without needing a wig, and is easily capable of portraying aloof southern weirdos. Danny can balance the duality of over-confidence and machismo that is perfect for Joe.


Kate McKinnon

She's already cast in the Carole Baskin role, but imagine seeing her in the tiger print shirt, light-washed jeans, and chaps in the Joe role. She's built up her impersonation chops on Saturday Night Live, why not swap things up and give her the lead role? Kate would slay it.


I'm not a casting director, but if any of you are, give us your ideas in the comments!

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