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Tiger King Director Says ​Joe Exotic Is 'Absolutely Thrilled' With Documentary

Tiger King Director Says ​Joe Exotic Is 'Absolutely Thrilled' With Documentary

I think we can all agree that Netflix's Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness came at EXACTLY the right time, having been dropped into our laps earlier this month as many nations went into lockdown - giving viewers plenty of time to rattle through what has turned out to be one of the world's most bonkers stories.

The documentary doc follows gun-toting, polygamist zoo-owner Joe Exotic and his various industry rivals, unfurling over the course of seven episodes into everything from drug kingpins and conmen through to cult leaders and murder-for-hire plots.

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But while we've all been watching on in sheer bemusement, co-director Eric Goode has revealed the project had much humbler beginnings, having originally set out to make a film about the illegal reptile trade when he 'stumbled' on the story of Joe Exotic.

Joe Exotic. Credit: Netflix
Joe Exotic. Credit: Netflix

Speaking to LADbible, Goode said: "I started out trying to film this sort of underground world of reptile dealing.

"Someone drove up one day with a snow leopard, and I was just shocked that you could just buy a snow leopard. And that took me into the world of big cat ownership in America, and all these roadside zoos."

It was at this point that Goode came across the man who would become the new star of his show.

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"It was very clear that Joe was a poster child, if you will, of the cat people - and PETA and Carole Baskin and the Humane Society were all basically trying to put Joe out of business," he said.

"Although Joe was one of the most flagrant tiger breeders, it was completely a surprise that Joe would ultimately - allegedly - try to kill Carole Baskin.

"That we just stumbled upon that. So of course the story took off and turned into something very different than what we had ever imagined."

Carole Baskin. Credit: Netflix
Carole Baskin. Credit: Netflix

The story they had taken on ended up getting pretty juicy, unfolding into a true crime saga about Carole's missing ex-husband and Joe's murder-for-hire plot - which landed him in jail.

But while Carole has since blasted the documentary for its 'salacious lies', it would seem that Joe is completely revelling in it all, and is 'absolutely thrilled' with the series.

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"Joe has called up Rebecca and I from jail since the airing of the documentary," Goode said.

"You know, he has lived his entire life just to be famous, and so to finally realise this fame is just... He's tickled pink.

"Even though he's behind bars it's really interesting to see Joe's response - it's incredible, and very surprising. Yes, he's absolutely thrilled."

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Goode, meanwhile, admitted he had 'mixed feelings' about it all, adding: "I have empathy for Joe and there are many qualities that I found fascinating and endearing about Joe, but at the same time Joe did horrific things.

"He was one of those people that would try to tell you what you wanted to hear. He's very manipulative - and smart in many ways.

"But in the end you know all of these people, including Carole, created their own little world within a world, and most of them are you know living outside of mainstream America.

"And in Joe's case, he played by his own rules and in the end he was his own worst enemy."

Referring to the narrative driving the documentary, Goode said: "This is not unique. As interesting and colourful as these characters were, there are many more of them.

"Joe was unique, I will say that."

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Netflix

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]