He’s gay as a $3 bill and he’s going to be standing in a cage with five full-grown tigers and lions.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator and star John Cameron Mitchell has been cast as famous big cat owner and criminal Joe Exotic, a.k.a. Joe Schreibvogel, in an upcoming series for NBC, according to Variety.
Mitchell will be playing Exotic, the main character of a wildly popular docuseries from Netflix last year that followed the larger-than-life gay private zoo owner in Oklahoma as he tried to keep his zoo open through animal attacks, financial and legal troubles, and drug use, and fought with big cat rights advocate Carole Baskin. Baskin will be played by Kate McKinnon, as previously announced.
“I’m thrilled to take on the role of this modern folk antihero,” said Mitchell. “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 won two Tonys for Hedwig and the Angry Inch and was nominated for a Golden Globe for starring in the film version of it. He also won Best Director for the film at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001. He’s also appeared in TV shows like Shrill, The Good Fight, and Girls. This will be his first starring role on TV.
Steven O’Neill, the executive vice president of casting and talent development for UCP, which is producing the show, said Mitchell is the perfect casting for the role. “It’s clear that an over-the-top character like Joe needed someone very special,” he said. “We are so excited to have John Cameron Mitchell, an adored icon of the LGBTQ community, take on this compelling role. His casting speaks to our ongoing vision of universal storytelling, and we can’t wait for our audiences to experience the show.”
This is one of two Joe Exotic TV projects in development. This show has the working title Joe Exotic and is based on the Wondery podcast of the same name hosted by Robert Moor. It will air on NBC, its Peacock streaming service, and USA Network.
Amazon is also developing a series about Exotic, with Nicolas Cage attached to play him. That series is based on the Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild” by Leif Reigstad.