Would David Spade Play Joe Exotic in a ‘Tiger King’ Adaptation? He Says …


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Taking a walk on the wild side? David Spade shared his thoughts on the possibility of playing Joe Exotic (real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage) in an upcoming Tiger King adaptation.

During a virtual interview for The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, April 9, Spade discussed Maldonado-Passage, 57, personally requesting for the Grown Ups star or Brad Pitt to play him in a biopic. “I thought it’s just a funny idea because … it’s more fun to think of who the casting would be,” the 55-year-old actor said in response.

“Joe Exotic said me or Brad Pitt and I think I know which way it’s gonna head. I see Brad at auditions all the time and it’s always tense,” Spade shared, before joking, “… You know what Brad does? He brings his Oscar to auditions now, which I don’t think you’re allowed to do that in SAG.”

David Spade Shares His Thoughts on Playing Joe Exotic Ellen DeGeneres Show
David Spade and Ellen DeGeneres YouTube

Spade noted that the film would need to be “more dramatic” to get everything right. The Benchwarmers actor suggested that Woody Harrelson would make a good Jeff Lowe, but he also explained why Pitt, 56, wouldn’t be right for the docuseries’ central character. “I think Joe is a little too squirrelly for Brad. That might be wishful thinking, Brad is so studly and I’m a little more squirrelly,” he added.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness premiered on Netflix on March 20. The seven-part true-crime docuseries follows Maldonado-Passage as he gets entangled in a murder-for-hire plot through his involvement in the underground world of big cat breeding.

Rebecca Chaiklin, who co-directed the docuseries for Netflix with Eric Goode, told The Hollywood Reporter on April 1 that Maldonado-Passage “would like Brad Pitt or David Spade to play him.” Chaiklin added, “He doesn’t refer to David Spade as David Spade — he refers to him as ‘Joe Dirt,’” referencing the Saturday Night Live alum’s 2001 flick of the same name.

David Spade Shares His Thoughts on Playing Joe Exotic
David Spade and Joe Exotic Shutterstock; NetFlix

Spade, however, has a lot of competition for the part of Maldonado-Passage if he chooses to try and pursue it. Late last month, Dax Shepard expressed his interest in starring as the former zookeeper in a biopic.

“If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken,” Shepard, 45, tweeted on March 25. The Parenthood alum then shared a tweet from a fan who Photoshopped Shepard’s face onto Maldonado-Passage’s. In response to the fan-created image, the “Armchair Expert” podcast host declared this to be “a great first step.”

Tiger King is now streaming on Netflix.

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