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‘Joe Exotic’ series to star Kate McKinnon, John Cameron Mitchell

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The “Joe Exotic” limited series in which Kate McKinnon will play Carole Baskin has cast John Cameron Mitchell to play the famous “Tiger King” himself, Variety has learned.

Mitchell has been cast as Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel, the larger-than-life zoo proprietor in Oklahoma who loses himself in his disdain for Carole Baskin (McKinnon). As recently declared, the show will air across NBC, Peacock, and USA Network.

“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 is best known for co-creating the musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” His work on the Broadway version procured him the Tony Award for best recovery of a melodic and a special Tony for execution. He likewise directed and featured in the movie version of “Hedwig,” for which he got a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a musical or comedy and won best director at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001. Mitchell’s other movie directing credits incorporate “Shortbus” and “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” while his TV acting credits incorporate “Shrill,” “The Good Fight,” and “Girls.”

“It’s clear that an over-the-top character like Joe needed someone very special,” said Steven O’Neill, executive vice president of casting and talent development for series producer UCP. “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.”

“Joe Exotic,” right now the working title of the show, depends on the Wondery Podcast of a similar name hosted and announced by Robert Moor. Etan Frankel serves as writer and executive producer under his overall deal with UCP. McKinnon executive produces as well as featuring alongside Wondery’s Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy, and Aaron Hart.

This is one of two TV projects set in the “Tiger King” world. Variety exclusively revealed a year ago that CBS Television Studios and Imagine Television are building up a series about Schreibvogel with Nicolas Cage attached to play the lead role. It depends on the Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild,” by Leif Reigstad. It was declared back in September that the Cage project has been set up for advancement at Amazon.

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