Dax Shepard & Ed Norton Both *Really* Want to Play Joe Exotic in the ‘Tiger King’ Biopic

There can only be one Tiger King, but that’s not stopping Dax Shepard and Ed Norton from throwing their hats in the ring.

If you’ve seen the much-buzzed-about Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, then you know there are few characters on earth more unique than big cat enthusiast Joe Exotic. After all, he is a self-proclaimed mullet-wearing, gun-toting, homosexual polygamist zookeeper/country-western singer. Any actor would love to play him. But now Shepard and Norton are going head-to-head on Twitter vying for the chance to portray him in the biopic and things are getting heated.

The situation arose last week when Shepard, 45, tweeted, “If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken.”

The following day, Norton, 50, replied, “Um, step aside, pal. You’re way too young and buff and you know it. You could probably pull of Maldonado still, actually. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

Shepard laughed at Norton’s response with emojis and wrote, “I’ll go ‘Machinest’ for this,” referencing how Christian Bale lost an alarming amount of weight to portray his character in the 2004 psychological thriller.

Shepard also threw in a photoshopped image of him as Joe Exotic for good measure.

We have to admit, he’s kind of perfect for the role. Norton has yet to comment, but we’re guessing he’ll have to agree.

Aside from Norton and Shepard, actors like David Spade (remember how closely his Joe Dirt character resembled Joe Exotic?!), comedian Dane Cook, Danny McBride (The Righteous Gemstones) and Walton Goggins (Justified) have been suggested as potential actors in Kate McKinnon’s scripted version of Tiger King.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but we’re totally voting for you, Dax. (Sorry, Ed.)


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.