Unless you’ve truly been on some Jared Leto-level isolation, you probably have heard about “Tiger King.” In this time where people are stuck at home with not much to do other than stream content, the Netflix docuseries about the life of Joe Exotic has been a massive hit, to say the least, prompting millions of memes, social media discussion, and a love affair with the “cast” of characters. Needless to say, it’s all anyone can really talk about when they don’t want to discuss the global pandemic.
And in a new interview with THR, the directors of Tiger King, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, talked about the success of their series and the frustrating, but understandable, love people have for Joe Exotic, aka the Tiger King. As for whether or not the self-appointed Tiger King, who dreams of being a star, has actually seen the docuseries that has taken the world by storm, the answer is a bit surprising.
“No,” said Chaiklin. “He’s incarcerated and right now he’s been put into isolation for COVID-19, so he actually is not available. He’s been cut off from phones, but Joe is somebody who has always wanted to be a star, and so he’s very excited for this to have captured people’s attention the way it did.”
That being said, Joe Exotic definitely has two people in mind to play him in the eventual film based on his story. And honestly, you couldn’t think of two people further apart in just about every way.
Chaiklin said, “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.’”
Of course, the “Joe Dirt” reference is to the character and film of the same name that Spade starred in, where he famously wore a mullet wig and was the epitome of what many would refer to as a “redneck.” On social media, people such as Dax Shepard and Edward Norton have stepped up to offer their services in the eventual narrative retelling of Joe Exotic’s story. We have yet to hear from Brad Pitt about the idea of playing the charismatic man (who also happens to be a violent, cruel, racist prisoner that somehow has earned himself pity from viewers who have watched the series).
As for the aforementioned racism, the directors of the show don’t hide the fact that they believe Joe Exotic is a racist, and overall, not a great person.
“Joe is a racist, I would say categorically,” explained Chaiklin. “He said things when we were filming that were very unsettling.”
Goode added, “We had empathy for Joe, but Joe did a lot of horrible things. Joe committed some really serious crimes and Joe was not only cruel and inhumane to his animals, he was cruel to the people around him. I think it’s very important for people to understand that Joe is an actor and he tells people what they want to hear. As much as we have some empathy for Joe and found Joe to be such an incredible character — this mullet-wearing country singer in Oklahoma — he did a lot of horrible things.”
You can watch “Tiger King” on Netflix now.