Amazon acquires Joe Exotic scripted series led by Nicolas Cage
After shopping the project out to studios in May, CBS Television Studios’ scripted series centered on Joe Exotic, the infamous subject of the Netflix docuseries Tiger King, with Nicolas Cage (Mandy) in the lead role has been acquired by Amazon Studios, according to Deadline.
The story, based on the Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild” by Leif Reigstad, centers on Joe Schreibvogel, aka Joe Exotic, an eccentric zookeeper in Oklahoma who fights to keep his park at the sake of his own sanity and will explore how he became Joe Exotic and lost himself to a character of his own creation.
The eight-episode scripted series will be co-produced by Amazon Studios, Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios and is planned to be taken to the market this week, with Dan Lagana (American Vandal) set to serve as writer, showrunner and executive producer of the series through his overall deal at CBS Television Studios. Paul Young, who optioned the article with Lagana, is set to executive produce through his banner Make Good Content, while Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Samie Kim Falvey will executive produce alongside Cage through his banner Saturn Films, and Scott Brown and Megan Creydt for Texas Monthly.
The currently untitled series will mark the first role of Cage’s career on the big screen, having starred exclusively in films aside from appearances on Saturday Night Live as well as a failed pilot called The Best of Times in 1981 and a televised stage production of Industrial Symphony No. 1 directed by David Lynch (Twin Peaks) in 1990, the same year he starred in Lynch’s cult classic Wild at Heart.
In addition to being the showrunner on the Emmy-nominated Netflix mockumentary American Vandal, Lagana is also known for his work on the short-lived MTV series Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous starring Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade) and the Hulu comedy Deadbeat.
The seven-part true crime documentary series was directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin. It is executive produced by Chris Smith, Fisher Stevens, Goode, and Chaiklin. Since its release, the docuseries became an instant phenomenon and had earned a rating of 93% at Rotten Tomatoes, as well as garnering an audience of 34.3 million unique viewers in the first 10 days of availability.
Amazon’s acquisition of the series marks its second project currently in development with the Oscar winner after he signed on to star in and executive produce the platform’s series adaptation of Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer’s bestselling novel Highfire. Alongside the Cage-led project, a scripted series centered on Carole Baskin is currently in development at NBCUniversal with Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) set for the lead role.
(Photo Credit: Robert Marquardt/Getty Images)