‘Tiger King’: Why Nicolas Cage Is Perfect For the Role of Joe Exotic

When Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness captivated Netflix viewers in March, celebrities from Dax Shepard to Edward Norton wanted to play the series’ subject, Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic in a movie. The first star to actually land the role is Nicolas Cage. Variety reports Cage will play Maldonado-Passage in a TV series produced by CBS Television Studios and Imagine Television Studios. American Vandal producer Dan Lagana is writing and producing.

Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Cage has been a phenomenon himself with his outrageous performances earning him memes and compilation videos. Fans of Cage still watch his latest output in movies that premiere on home video or with limited theatrical releases. Films like Color Out of Space and Mandy still give Cage an outlet for his eccentric talents. Here are some of Cage’s classic roles that show he’ll be perfect to play Maldonado-Passage.

Nicolas Cage could rock Joe Exotic ‘Tiger King’ hair

Nicolas Cage can look different in every role he plays. One of his most iconic looks is the long hair in Con Air. It blew in the wind as he ran from explosions in slow motion. He did long hair again in Season of the Witch and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Cage has also had wild hair in Raising Arizona, curly hair in Adaptation and more.

Nicolas Cage in Con Air
Nicolas Cage | Touchstone Pictures/Getty Images

Maldonado-Passage’s blonde mullet would be a great look for Cage. Add to that the handlebar mustache and you’re looking at another iconic Nicolas Cage character in the annals of cinema, or TV in this case.

Nicolas Cage could do Joe Exotic’s voice

Even more than changing his physical appearance, Cage loves to change his voice. He famously feuded with his uncle Francis Ford Coppola for doing a silly voice in Peggy Sue Got Married. The ultimate Cage voice was Vampire Kiss’s ’80s yuppie going insane. He’s also done southern drawl (Raising Arizona, Con Air), Italian (Moonstruck, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) and San Fernando Valley (Valley Girl).

Nicolas Cage and Kathleen Turner
Nicolas Cage and Kathleen Turner | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Maldonado-Passage has a bit of a Southern twang, definitely much higher pitched than Cage’s normal speaking voice. Cage will have a chance to immerse himself in Maldonado-Passage’s dialect as well as his mannerisms.

Joe Exotic will have many chances to freak out 

This is what everyone watches a Nicolas Cage movie for. He famously freaks out as the villain of Face/Off. Many people love to quote his death by bees in The Wicker Man. He freaked out at perps in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Wild at Heart is pretty much one long freak out. 

Nicolas Cage | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

He freaks out in Vampire’s Kiss over misfiling an old contract. Maldonado-Passage wouldn’t misfile anything though. He just burned it all to the ground when he didn’t want anyone finding incriminating footage.

Reports from those featured in Tiger King and close with Maldonado-Passage suggest the Netflix series didn’t even show the full extent of his extreme personality. The directors confirm he made racist tirades they left out. Zoo coworkers discussed Maldonado-Passage killing animals for fun.

When he ran for President in 2016, you can see more of that rage on display. No matter what aspects of Maldonado-Passage’s life the CBS series decides to include, there will be be plenty of chances for Cage to show how unhinged he could be.