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Joe Exotic, the famed and currently incarcerated subject of the wildly popular Netflix docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” has an interesting cast of players he would want to portray him if a screenplay on his life story made it to production — and the list is very short.
“He would like Brad Pitt or David Spade to play him,” said Rebecca Chaiklin, one of the filmmakers who brought the project to the masses. “He doesn’t refer to David Spade as David Spade — he refers to him as ‘Joe Dirt,’” she added on Wednesday during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
The seven-part series for the streaming giant follows Joseph Maldonado-Passage, 57, in his exploits as a zookeeper, country musician, aspiring politician and arch-rival of fellow big cat enthusiast Carole Baskin. Maldonado-Passage was handed a 22-year prison sentence for his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage seen in a Santa Rosa County Jail booking photo. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File)
Maldonado-Passage’s husband Dillon Passage, told Andy Cohen on Wednesday that the Tiger King hasn’t yet seen the project but is basking in the attention and notoriety he has received since the series began streaming.
“He’s in jail, so he can’t necessarily watch it, but once the show dropped he was getting hundreds and hundreds of emails to his jail mail, and he was ecstatic,” Passage told Cohen.
In the midst of the series’ popularity, Dax Shepard expressed a desire to play Joe Exotic as well as Pitt’s “Fight Club” co-star Edward Norton. The two traded light social media jabs at the idea of playing the figure.
“If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken,” the “Spin the Wheel” host tweeted last month before Norton swooped in to stake his claim to the role. “Um, step aside, pal. You’re way too young and buff and you know it.”
Shepard, quipped back, “😁😁😁😁😁 I’ll go ‘Machinist’ for this,” shouting out Christian Bale’s dramatic weight loss for the 2004 film.
During Passage’s conversation with Cohen on the Bravo star’s SiriusXM show, Passage revealed that Maldonado-Passage entered “COVID-19 isolation” while carrying out his sentence.
Brad Pitt, Joe Exotic, David Spade
(Getty, Netflix )
“We speak like three to five times every day, but since he’s been moved to this new facility, they are putting him on a COVID-19 isolation because of the previous jail he was at, there were cases,” Passage said of his husband. “I’ve yet to speak to him since he moved.”
When asked whether Maldonado-Passage is in an individual quarantine, Passage said: “From what I know, yes.”