Here’s Every Actor Who Needs To Get Cast For Each Part When ‘Tiger King’ Inevitably Gets Turned Into A Movie

tiger king movie hypothetical cast


The Netflix documentary series Tiger King has taken the internet by storm over the past week or so. It’s a story so compelling and with more twists than M. Night Shyamalan’s entire filmography that it’s only a matter of time until it gets the Hollywood treatment.

In fact, a dramatic adaptation that will focus on Carole Baskin is currently in the works with SNL’s Kate Mackinnon attached to play the lead.

The real-life story has a deeper pool of engaging characters to pull from than any documentary I can think of since 2007’s King of Kong (Billy Mitchell is arguably the greatest movie villain of all time). Considering how much a sensation Tiger King became after it’s release, it’d make the perfect big-budget film featuring a star-studded ensemble cast.

What could such a cast look like? Well, let’s figure that out.

Hugo Weaving as Joe Exotic

tiger king movie hypothetical cast


Our version of Tiger King is going to focus on The Tiger King himself, which means that the entire project hinges on casting the perfect Joe Exotic.

Hugo Weaving might be that guy.

Agent Smith himself brings with him the acting chops to handle some of the story’s heavier moments but would be playing somewhat against type when it comes to Joe Exotic’s eccentricities, which would be huge when we get to award season (sup Oscars?).

I think he could handle it and he definitely bears a resemblance to Joe so all we need is a blonde mullet and a hat.

Julianne Moore as Carole Baskin

tiger king movie hypothetical cast

Focus Features/Netflix

Kate McKinnon isn’t a bad choice to play Carole Baskin by any means but I’d personally tap Julianne Moore to play the role of everyone’s favorite crazy cat lady who may or may not have had something to do with the rather suspicious disappearance of her husband.

Moore kind of looks the part and she’s also closer in age to current-day Baskin than McKinnon is. I initially thought of her turn as the mom in the Carrie remake and how she’s pretty capable of playing a character with a bit of a dark side. That’d be a cool dynamic for this role.

You can also probably count her in as winning the “Best Actress” leg of our awards season sweep.

Ray Romano As Howard Baskin

tiger king movie hypothetical cast


Ray Romano is having a bit of a resurgence, as was most recently proven by his stellar performance in The Irishman.

He’s a great choice to play Carole’s current husband, Howard Baskin. Romano’s usual subdued demeanor mirror’s Howard’s, who always seems about as relaxed throughout the series as anyone could possibly be given the circumstances.

Ron Perlman as Bhagavan “Doc” Antle

tiger king movie hypothetical cast

Saban Films/Netflix

The second I saw Doc Antle’s blocky head, I thought to myself, “That’s Ron Perlman.”

Perlman is a great actor who I can practically see right now riding an elephant through the neighborhood in which he houses his numerous wives (which was quietly one of the most bizarre flexes of the series).

He’d be able to handle cycling between the jovial side of Antle as well as the angrier, “How dare you ask if this is a cult?” aspect of his personality.

The Pussycat Dolls as Doc Antle’s Wives

tiger king movie hypothetical cast


Speaking of Doc Antle’s wives, we need to cast them as well.

A movie like this needs a dose of stunt casting and I think this is where we make it happen.

I like the idea of casting a group for this role and The Pussycat Dolls fit the bill primarily based on the number of members (as well as the “Pussycat” pun since this would be a movie in which cats play a crucial role).

You’d get the publicity for an off-the-board casting choice and if they have an album or something they want to promote it can be artfully positioned in the background of a shot. It’d be a symbiotic casting relationship where everyone wins.

David Morse as Jeff Lowe

tiger king movie hypothetical cast

Well Go USA/Netflix

This may have been the toughest part to cast. Jeff Lowe is one of the more memorable characters and one of the series’ many “villains,” so it’d be important to get it right.

Veteran actor and ultimate “That Guy” David Morse is the man for the job. He’s got an extensive IMDB page that includes The Green Mile, The Rock, and 12 Monkeys. We’re going to need someone with his level of experience to play the part of the main storyline’s ultimate string-puller.

Morse also resembles Lowe for the most part (which is like 75% of it in my opinion). The other 25% is reading words, memorizing them, and then saying those words while moving accordingly.

Acting, as it were.

Kyle Gass as James Garretson

tiger king movie hypothetical cast

Getty Image/Netflix

The not-Jack Black half of Tenacious D, Kyle Gass is ideal to take on the part of James Garretson.

The bar and strip club owner-turned-informant is a crucial character in the overall story. Gass can act (and, if needed, do some Pick of Destiny-style shredding).

Hopefully he’s comfortable around water because any adaptation of the Tiger King story has to contain the now-iconic shot of James Garretson whipping around on a jetski.

Peter Weller and/or Ed Harris as Rick Kirkham

tiger king movie hypothetical cast

After Dark/HBO/Netflix

For the part of chain-smoking, coffee-chugging, diner-sitting reality TV producer Rick Kirkham, I say we opt for Peter Weller…or Ed Harris… or maybe both.

I don’t know. I’ve gotten them mixed up my entire life. I know that Weller was Robocop and also taught ancient history classes at Syracuse University. I also know that Ed Harris is in Westworld, but aside from that, they’re the same guy in my head.

So, if we can’t cast one, we get the other. If they’re both available, then we get both.

Most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference and one would always be on hand. If Weller had to teach a class or Harris had to go to his kid’s thing we could use the other guy that day.

We could also ask Harris to bring his black Westworld hat to set to keep the budget down.

Flea as John Finlay

tiger king movie hypothetical cast

Getty Image/Netflix

When casting Joe Exotic’s ex-husband John Finlay, the clear choice is the only man on Earth who has worn shirts less frequently than Finlay himself: Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.

People forget that Flea can act. He was in the second Back to the Future movie, Point Break, and killed it as the voice of Donnie in The Wild Thornberries.

All you really have to do is work some Hollywood magic on his teeth and maybe add a touch of de-aging and we’ll be golden.

Michael Rooker as Allen Glover

tiger king movie hypothetical cast


Jeff Lowe’s righthand man Allen Glover was allegedly hired by Joe Exotic to whack Carole Baskin.

Michael Rooker would be perfect to play the bald-headed ex-con. He’s great at playing tough guys and Glover’s voice even kind of reminds me of when Rooker played the part of Merle on The Walking Dead.

For a character that always seems like he could come unglued pretty easily, Rooker is a solid option.