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Who Should Be Cast in the Tiger King TV Show?

Casting directors, call us

TV Guide Editors
Tiger King Fantasy Casting
1 of 31 Getty Images/Netflix

Who Should Be Cast in a Tiger King TV Show?

Everyone on the internet has an opinion on who should be cast in any and all inevitable Tiger King adaptations. Before the Netflix series even premiered, Kate McKinnon had already been tapped to executive produce and star as Carole Baskin in a miniseries based on the podcast Joe Exotic. But because we can't stop thinking about this show either, we put it to a vote among the TV Guide staff: Which famous faces should play the big personalities of the Tiger King world? Click ahead for our fantasy cast who could bring to life the story behind the Netflix show.

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Dax Shepard as Joe Exotic

"If I don't get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken," Dax Shepard wrote in the tweet heard 'round the internet. We would have to agree with him: Add a mullet and the look is spot on. Plus, Shepard could definitely harness the chaotic energy that's essential to the Exotic persona.

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Runners-up for Joe Exotic: Will Forte and Tilda Swinton

Shepard is the top choice here, but if he were unavailable, we have some ideas. Will Forte's history of playing unhinged, highly theatrical characters means he's essentially been preparing for Joe Exotic his whole career, while Tilda Swinton could give the role a slightly sinister, highbrow edge. Casting directors, call us.

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Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin

Kate McKinnon is set to star as Joe Exotic's nemesis Carole Baskin in a limited series based on the Joe Exotic podcast, and who are we to disagree? Just imagine her saying, "Hey, all you cool cats and kittens."

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Runners-up for Carole Baskin: Allison Janney and Kim Cattrall

If there are any other adaptations down the line, we also think Allison Janney and Kim Cattrall are more than capable of sporting flower crowns, rocking all that leopard print, and channeling the ominous mystery that surrounds Baskin.

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Paul Scheer as John Finlay

Though Finlay is not as goofy as his typical character type, Paul Scheer could slip right into the role of Exotic's ex-husband. Just add some tattoos!

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Runners-up for John Finlay: Elijah Wood and Bill Hader

Keep Elijah Wood and Bill Hader on stand-by for John Finlay, though. We feel like they could both slip easily into the scummy vibe.

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Shia LeBeouf as Travis Maldonado

As we saw in Honey Boy, Shia LaBeouf has the range. He's tan, handsome, and though he's a little shorter than the actual Maldonado, that's what movie magic is for. Also, doesn't it just feel like LeBeouf should play a part in any Tiger King adaptation that comes along?

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Runners-up for Travis Maldonado: Raúl Castillo and Casey Cott

If LeBeouf isn't willing to commit to a side role, Raúl Castillo and Riverdale's Casey Cott could both bring something to the third member of the Joe Exotic-John Finlay-Travis Maldonado throuple.

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Wyatt Russell as Erik Cowie

Stick some hair extensions on Wyatt Russell and he'd be an instant scene-stealer as Erik Cowie.

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Runners-up for Erik Cowie: Ewan McGregor and Tim Blake Nelson

We could also see Ewan McGregor and Tim Blake Nelson donning the necessary long blonde wig.

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Bryan Cranston as John Reinke

As one of the only truly likable characters on Tiger King, John Reinke needs to be played by someone you could root for, which is why Bryan Cranston is the right choice here. We know he can be funny.

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Runners-up for John Reinke: Will Forte and Matthew McConaughey

OK, maybe we just really want Will Forte to be in this, but he can also play likable! And as for Matthew McConaughey, well... some things require no explanation. (Plus, he's who John Reinke wants for the role.)

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Ian Alexander as Saff Saffery

The OA's Ian Alexander is the best fit for Joe Exotic's former animal keeper, who lost his arm in one of the earliest horrifying incidents in the docuseries.

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Runners-up for Saff: Brandon Baker and Kiowa Gordon

Saff himself has an eye on Johnny Tsunami's Brandon Baker for the role, and we could also see Kiowa Gordon bringing Saff's resilient demeanor to the screen.

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Billy Bob Thornton as Rick Kirkham

Billy Bob Thornton would bring gravitas to the filmmaker who sniffed out Joe Exotic early on. As a bonus, Thornton is exactly who Rick Kirkham wants to see play him.

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Runners-up for Rick Kirkham: Sam Elliott and Willem Dafoe

Two more strong picks for Rick Kirkham are Sam Elliott, who feels like a gimme, and Willem Dafoe, who would sip that endless cup of coffee like the pro he is.

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Jim Gaffigan as Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle

There have been a lot of internet fan casts for Joe Exotic's other nemesis, the alleged cult leader Doc Antle, but Jim Gaffigan is our dark horse pick.

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Runners-up for Doc Antle: Will Ferrell and John Malkovich

For obvious reasons, Will Ferrell has been one of the most popular names thrown around for the role of Doc Antle, but don't rule out John Malkovich's comedic prowess either.

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John Turturro as Mario Tabraue

Mario Tabraue might often be compared to Scarface's Tony Montana, but we could see John Turturro taking on the role.

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Runners-up for Mario Tabraue: Benicio Del Toro and Marc Anthony

Benicio Del Toro and Marc Anthony would also be up for the job of bringing Tabraue to our screens again.

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Bruce Willis as Jeff Lowe

Bruce Willis could really sink his teeth into the role of Jeff Lowe, one of the sneakiest figures in the whole show (which is really saying something).

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Runners-up for Jeff Lowe: Fred Durst and David Morse

All bets are off with this role, which is why we think rapper Fred Durst and David Morse should also be considered.

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Michael Rooker as Allen Glover

We know Michael Rooker has a knack for portraying complicated characters with a mean streak, which makes him perfect for the role of Tiger King's almost-assassin, Allen Glover.

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Runners-up for Allen Glover: Terry O'Quinn and Bryan Cranston

If Rooker isn't available, we've also got our eye on Terry O'Quinn or Bryan Cranston (assuming Cranston isn't already booked as John Reinke). Both can handle being the silent-but-deadly type.

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Haley Joel Osment as James Garretson

We see a lot of potential for Haley Joel Osment to bring this mysterious lemur lover to life on-screen.

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Runners-up for James Garretson: Paul Walter Hauser and Jorge Garcia

Paul Walter Hauser and Jorge Garcia could also do a great job convincing us that they only turned state's evidence because of a small animal-smuggling operation.

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Toby Wallace as Dillon Passage

Joe Exotic's hubby Dillon Passage could probably pass for a movie star himself, but we're digging the idea of Toby Wallace for that role.

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Runners-up for Dillon Passage: Dacre Montgomery and Jimmy Tatro

Dacre Montgomery and Jimmy Tatro could also channel Dillon Passage's young hunk qualities.

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Ari Stidham as Joshua Dial

The most perfect person to portray Joe Exotic's former campaign manager, Joshua Dial, is Ari Stidham, and we are not taking questions at this time.

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Runners-up for Joshua Dial: Jonah Hill and Cameron Britton

Just imagine what talented actors like Jonah Hill and Cameron Britton might be able to do with that scene.