Spin-offs, sequels and stars - Netflix's Tiger King has spawned a monster

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Image source, Getty Images/Netflix

Netflix's Tiger King has been one of the runaway hits of lockdown TV - and its success has unsurprisingly led to a rush to make spin-offs and adaptations.

The Netflix series tells the astonishing story of the larger-than-life Oklahoma zoo owner Joe Exotic and his rivalry with animal rights activist Carole Baskin.

Nicolas Cage as Joe Exotic

Oscar-winning actor Cage will play the infamous, polygamous, gun-wielding Exotic, who is serving 22 years in prison for plotting Baskin's murder.

Cage will star in a new eight-part scripted TV drama, based on a 2019 Texas Monthly article titled Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into The World Of A Man Gone Wild, by Leif Reigstad.

No channel or platform has been announced. Cage won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas in 1996, and this will be his first regular TV role. The series will be written by American Vandal showrunner Dan Lagana, according to Variety.

Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin

Image source, Getty Images/Netflix

That's not the only drama adaptation in the works - Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters star Kate McKinnon is due to play Baskin in another limited series.

Her version will be based on a podcast called Joe Exotic: Tiger King, which was made by Wondery and launched in March.

But is there room for both scripted series? If not, which one will make it to air?

Rob Lowe and Ryan Murphy's version?

And it seems other drama adaptations could be on the cards...

Actor Rob Lowe recently posted on Instagram to say he and illustrious TV guru Ryan Murphy were "developing our version of this insane story".

He even offered an uncanny glimpse of himself as Exotic, holding his dog instead of a tiger.

...Or Orlando Bloom... or Jared Leto...

In fact, there are a few Hollywood stars to have been either linked with a role or tried to get in on the action.

The Sun claimed Orlando Bloom had been earmarked to star in a big-screen version.

Kevin Bacon recently said he would say yes to starring in a film about Exotic in "a second".

Actors Dax Shepard and Edward Norton even had a Twitter spat (sort of) over which one of them should play him.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

And Jared Leto posted a photo of himself with a (fluffy) tiger with the caption #JaredLetoTigerKing.

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#JaredLetoTigerKing

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Exotic himself has suggested a couple of people for the role, including US actor and comedian David Spade, who is obsessed with Tiger King and has interviewed some of the players on YouTube.

The other person Exotic suggested was Brad Pitt. Spade joked: "I see Brad at auditions all the time and it's always tense."

Netflix season two?

As well as the dramatic adaptations, there has been speculation about a second Netflix season - but no announcement yet.

The first was such a phenomenon - with 64 million people watching at least some of it in its first month - that it's hard to imagine they won't find a way to bring it back.

"We have a crazy amount of footage and it's a story that's still unfolding," co-director Rebecca Chaiklin told Entertainment Weekly in March.

"We're not sure yet, but there could be a follow-up on this story because there's a lot that's still unfolding in it, and it'll be just as dramatic and just as colourful as what has unfolded these past few years."

They did go on to make a single follow-up episode.

Another factual follow-up

Netflix may not have ordered a follow-up series, but the Investigation Discovery network has.

Investigating the Strange World of Joe Exotic is described as "the definitive true crime series" and will delve into his rivalry with Baskin.

"Viewers are understandably riveted by Netflix's Tiger King, but the millions of true crime fans around the world were left wanting more," channel boss Henry Schleiff said.

Louis Theroux's close encounter

Media caption,
Louis Theroux meets Joe Exotic and his dangerous pets

Nine whole years before the Netflix series, Louis Theroux visited Exotic's zoo for an episode of America's Most Dangerous Pets.

The programme was repeated on BBC Two on Sunday, with Theroux giving his thoughts during a tweet-along.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

It is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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