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Joe Exotic Wants Brad Pitt Or David Spade To Play Him In Tiger King Adaptation

Lucy Connolly

| Last updated 

Warning: Contains Spoilers

Joe Exotic Wants Brad Pitt Or David Spade To Play Him In Tiger King AdaptationPA Images

For anyone who has spent many of their days in isolation binge-watching Tiger King (i.e. absolutely everybody), I think it’s fair to say that seven episodes just wasn’t enough.


Obviously, and understandably, the people want more – ideally in the form of a film adaptation starring a whole array of Hollywood A-listers. It’s not much to ask really, is it?

And while no such thing has been confirmed yet – although you’d better believe I’m waiting on tenterhooks for any and all announcements – it seems Joe Exotic wants in on the action, despite currently being behind bars.

Joe Exotic Tiger KingNetflix

Firstly, for anybody who’s not yet watched Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, let me give you the low-down. A seven-part Netflix docuseries, the show follows Exotic – real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage – as the owner of GW Exotic Animal Park, a 16-acre ranch in Oklahoma where he kept more than 1,200 animals.


While the show might seem like a simple animal documentary at first glance, with Exotic’s zoo home to an array of wild cats and bears, its synopsis hints at something darker: ‘A zoo owner spirals out of control amid a cast of eccentric characters in this true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.’

Exotic’s zoo soon attracted the attention of Carole Baskin, CEO of the Tampa animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue, with the pair’s rivalry eventually culminating in the zoo owner being arrested for plotting to murder Carole. He is currently serving a 22-year sentence, but maintains his innocence.

Carole Baskin Tiger KingNetflix

Exhausted? Me too. Despite being behind bars, and despite the fact he hasn’t been able to watch the docuseries, 57-year-old Exotic is adamant that he knows who he would want to play him in a film adaptation of the show.


In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, April 1, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin – the filmmakers behind the Netflix show – revealed Exotic wants either Brad Pitt or David Spade to portray him if his life story ever makes it to the big screen.

Not just any David Spade though. Nope, Exotic specifically requested the Joe Dirt-era Spade, with Chaiklin explaining: ‘He would like Brad Pitt or David Spade to play him. He doesn’t refer to David Spade as David Spade — he refers to him as “Joe Dirt”.’

david spade joe dirtSony Pictures

Unfortunately for Exotic though, it doesn’t look like Spade is up for playing him on the big screen anytime soon. The actor told Entertainment Tonight: ‘I don’t know if I could. That’s why I don’t really push it or jump in on it, with all these funny debates. It just looks too fun.’


He then continued to offer up his own dream cast:

I know Woody Harrelson is [as] funny as that guy Joe. I was thinking Matthew McConaughey for John [Reinke]. The boyfriend – John Finlay – he got his teeth fixed and he said he liked Channing Tatum.

Spade also suggested reuniting Friends‘ stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow to play Doc Antle’s wives, stating: ‘That would be great, wouldn’t it be? A little Charlie’s Angels back there?’

David SpadePA Images

It looks like Pitt and Spade – and all of the latter’s other suggestions – might have competition though, because several Hollywood A-listers have already jokingly (or not, who knows?) expressed an interest in playing the eccentric zoo owner.

Primarily Dax Shepard (Hit and Run, Without a Paddle), who tweeted: ‘If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken.’

Edward Norton, Pitt’s Fight Club co-star, then got in on the action, telling Shepard to ‘step aside, pal,’ before adding: ‘You’re way too young and buff and you know it.’

Basically, loads of people are interested so can we please get somebody working on an adaptation ASAP?

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is available to stream on Netflix now.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: Film and TV, Animals, Brad Pitt, Joe Exotic, Netflix, Tiger King, tigers


The Hollywood Reporter and 3 others
  1. The Hollywood Reporter

    'Tiger King' Directors Reveal the A-List Movie Star Joe Exotic Hopes Will Play Him

  2. Dax Shepard/Twitter


  3. Edward Norton/Twitter


  4. Entertainment Tonight

    David Spade Talks 'Tiger King' Obsession and Why He Couldn't Play Joe Exotic (Exclusive)

Lucy Connolly
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