'Joe vs Carole' actor John Cameron Mitchell says he thinks 'Tiger King' star Joe Exotic would appreciate how the new series handles his story

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Joe Exotic john cameron mitchell
John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic in "Joe vs Carole" (left) and the real Joe Exotic speaking to Animal Planet (right).Mark Taylor/Peacock; Animal Planet/YouTube
  • John Cameron Mitchell stars as Joe Exotic in Peacock's "Joe vs Carole."

  • He says they treat the "Tiger King" star with empathy and Exotic would appreciate the series.

  • Kate McKinnon also stars alongside Mitchell as Carole Baskin.

"Joe vs Carole" actor John Cameron Mitchell spoke to Insider about playing Joe Exotic in the new Peacock drama series and offered his thoughts on "Tiger King."

"I wasn't really into the docuseries because it just was looking for trouble, if you know what I mean," Mitchell told Insider, referring to Netflix's "Tiger King."

"It was not really interested in the real people and the emotions and the empathy," he said. "When I read Etan Frankel's script, I was like, 'OK, this is the real story.'"

Mitchell plays Exotic in the new series, which explores the complicated feud between the eccentric zoo owner and animal rights activist Carole Baskin, played by "Saturday Night Live" star Kate McKinnon.

Premiering in March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, "Tiger King" was an unexpected viral hit for Netflix, spawning countless memes. The success of the series even led then-President Donald Trump to consider pardoning Joe Exotic — who was serving 22 years at the time for a few different convictions, including a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin — though he ultimately declined to do so.

tiger king joe exotic
"Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness" was released on Netflix on March 20, 2020.Netflix

According to Mitchell, he could connect with the character of Joe based on his own life experiences.

"I'm from the same area [as Joe], I've lived in Kansas, Oklahoma, I was born in Texas, my mother's Scottish," he told Insider. "So I saw the world from different angles and I saw what it was like to be queer in those places."

"There weren't many options, you had to think about leaving or you just went in the closet and became a hairdresser or whatever," he continued. "Joe did it the third way, which was creating his own kingdom where no one's going to mess with him. But it came out of a lot of abuse and a lot of homophobia and his husband dying of AIDS and all this stuff that the docuseries didn't get into."

John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic
John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic in Peacock's "Joe vs Carole."Mark Taylor/Peacock

However, the "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" star didn't contact Exotic while filming the series. "They discouraged us from doing that," Mitchell said. "Because you didn't want to be partial to one or the other."

When Mitchell's casting was announced, Exotic posted a tweet that included a gay slur and suggested he did not think he was going to be portrayed fairly.

"After that post, it didn't warm me to him at all," Mitchell said.

"But I think he should see it because he's going to be really surprised at how human and sympathetic he is in this without condoning his crimes," the actor added. "He's a real person in this, he wasn't in the docuseries."

"I think if he sees it, he's actually going to shed a tear or two because we do have empathy for him, especially what he went through before he became a monster."

All episodes of "Joe vs Carole" are now available on Peacock.

Read the original article on Insider