John Cameron Mitchell is sinking his teeth into another role of a lifetime: The Hedwig and the Angry Inch vet (and current Shrill co-star) is set to star as Joe Exotic opposite Kate McKinnon’s Carole Baskin in Universal Content Productions’ forthcoming limited series about the Tiger King personality.
The project — tentatively titled Joe Exotic — centers on big cat enthusiast Baskin, who learns that 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.
Point of clarity: Though Joe Exotic centers on the same people that are featured in Netflix’s unscripted smash Tiger King, the NBCU series is actually based on Wondery’s Joe Exotic podcast, which was released in last March. Meanwhile, Amazon is also developing a Joe Exotic limited series, with Nicolas Cage on board to play the titular role.
“I’m thrilled to take on the role of this modern folk antihero,” said Mitchell in a statement. “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.”
The limited series will be available on NBC, Peacock and USA Network. Etan Frankel (Sorry for Your Loss) will write and executive-produce the show; McKinnon also is among the roster of executive producers.
“It’s clear that an over-the-top character like Joe needed someone very special,” declared Steven O’Neill, EVP, Casting & Talent Development, UCP, in a statement. “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.”