John Cameron Mitchell joins Kate McKinnon in Joe Exotic miniseries
As Amazon is currently at work developing the Nicolas Cage-led drama on the figure after acquiring it from CBS Studios, NBCUniversal’s Joe Exotic miniseries has added Hedwig and the Angry Inch writer/star John Cameron Mitchell as Exotic, who joins previously-cast Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’m thrilled to take on the role of this modern folk antihero,” Mitchell said. “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.”
Based on Robert Moor’s Wondery Podcast, the series will be penned by Etan Frankel (Shameless) will center on big cat enthusiast Carole Baskin (McKinnon) as she learns of Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel’s animal abuse and breeding of big cats and sets out to shut down his business, creating a rivalry between the two. As Carole’s own shady past begins to come to light, Joe will fight for his business and seeks to expose her for her hypocrisy.
“It’s clear that an over-the-top character like Joe needed someone very special,” Steven O’Neill, Executive Vice President of Casting and Talent development at Universal Content Productions, said 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.”
Frankel, who is also developing an Evel Knievel limited series led by Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us), will also executive produce the project under his overall deal with UCP alongside McKinnon, Wondery’s Hernan Lopez, Marshall Levy and Aaron Hart while UCP are attached to produce.
The series was first announced as being in development in November and in an effort to combat the streaming wars, NBCU has set the series for a multi-platform airing across NBC, fresh streaming platform Peacock and USA Network, where it was originally set up. This business model is a similar setup to Hulu’s deal with multiple networks of simultaneous streaming programs after their on-air debuts, as well as HBO’s with their platform HBO Max.
Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King first introduced the world to the bizarre nature of Exotic and Baskin’s story this past March and became an overnight sensation, trending across multiple social media platforms, in news headlines and reaching an audience of 34.3 million unique viewers within the first 10 days of its debut. This success led to the ordering of a follow-up special hosted by Joel McHale (Community), a follow-up docuseries at Investigation Discovery and the Cage-starring scripted series at CBS Television Studios, based on the Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild” by Leif Reigstad.
(Photo Credit: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for MoMA’s The Contenders Series)