A scripted series centered around Tiger King‘s Joe Exotic with Nicolas Cage attached to star and executive produce is in the works, Deadline has confirmed. The project hails from American Vandal showrunner Dan Lagana, Paul Young (Key & Peele), Imagine Television Studios and CBS TV Studios. The eight-episode limited series will go to market in the next few days.
Based on the Texas Monthly article Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild by Leif Reigstad, the story centers around Joe Shreibvogel, an eccentric, exotic zookeeper in Oklahoma who fights to keep his park — even at the risk of losing his sanity. The series will live in the lion’s den with Joe, explore how he became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation.
Lagana will write and executive produce. Brian Grazer and Samie Kim Falvey will executive produce with Imagine, along
Young for Make Good Content, Cage for Saturn Films and Scott Brown and Megan Creydt for Texas Monthly.
Lagana and Young optioned the article through Lagana’s overall deal at CBS Television Studios last June.
Imagine’s James Seidman and Natalie Berkus are overseeing the project for Imagine.
Joe Exotic is the subject of the Netflix docuseries, Tiger King, which has become a global phenom since its release. One of the most popular series on TV, Tiger King has earned an 88% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 87% audience score. The series drew 34.3 million unique viewers in the first 10 days of its release, from March 20-29, according to Nielsen, eclipsing the Season 2 numbers for Stranger Things, which drew 31.2 million in its first 10 days in 2017.
Joe Exotic (w.t.) is the latest project to come out of Imagine and CBS’s co-production/co-finance partnership which includes Why Women Kill, 68 Whiskey, and Swagger.
This project is separate from another scripted series centered around the Tiger King phenomenon announced late last year, starring and executive produced by Kate McKinnon that’s in the works at UCP. That series is based on the Wondery podcast Joe Exotic, which had been optioned by UCP.
Cage’s recent and upcoming work includes Mandy, Color Out of Space, Prisoners of the Ghostland, Pig, Croods 2, and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. He is repped by WME, Stride Management and Attorney Patrick Knapp of Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.
Make Good Content, which represents Lagana, is a management-production company founded by Paul Young in January, 2018. Young was also the founder of Principato-Young Entertainment, which he sold in 2017.
Variety was first to report the project.