NBCUniversal’s Joe Exotic series will carry an Australian flavour that goes beyond its Queensland shoot.
Aussie actors Will McNeill (Rams), Jack Scott (Hardball), Nic English (The Tailings), Benedict Hardie (The Invisible Man), Shereena Clanton (Wentworth), Alexandra Jensen (My Life is Murder), Anthony J. Sharpe (Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears) and Aliandra Calabrese (Perfect Messy Love) have been added to the supporting cast for the production, which is currently filming.
The series will feature English as the titular character’s first husband Brian Rhyne; Scott as Exotic’s political campaign manager Joshua Dial; Calabrese as Lauren Lowe; Jenson as Exotic’s niece Chealsi; Hardie as Agent Thomas; Sharpe as zookeeper Erik Cowie; McNeill as Big Cat Rescue volunteer Tyler; and Clanton as Susan.
It comes after the earlier announcement of fellow Aussie Marlo Kelly as Carole Baskin’s daughter Jamie Murdock.
They join the likes of Kate McKinnon, Kyle MacLachlan, and John Cameron Mitchell in the series, which is based on the Wondery podcast about the former Oklahoma zoo operator and big cat breeder who was put on trial and sentenced to 22 years in prison for plotting to murder another big cat enthusiast.
Mckinnon, who also executive produces, will play Baskin opposite Mitchell’s Joe Exotic.
The series is being written by Etan Frankel, who executive produces alongside Wondery’s Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy, and Aaron Hart. Justin Tipping will direct the first four episodes, including the pilot, with Australia-based director Natalie Bailey (The Unusual Suspects) to direct episodes five, six, and seven.
English told IF he was “stoked” to be included in the project.
“It’s been incredible and I feel very privileged to be a part of it considering everything that’s happening right now,” he said.
“There’s a tremendous amount of care and consideration that’s gone into it, so it’s lovely to be a part of that.
“This character means a lot to me and I can’t wait to share it.”
Scott said he jumped at the chance to be involved in the project.
“Joshua Dial is such an interesting person in the documentary (I’m sure he is in life as well), and to have the opportunity to play a man that is living and breathing somewhere else on earth right now is fascinating to me.
“Being Joe Exotic’s campaign manager for a run at the governorship pretty much sells itself.
“I had a sensational time shooting.”
For McNeill, playing the eager volunteer had been a “bit of a pinch-me moment”.
“The passion that the production team has for this story is really inspiring and exciting,” he said.
Production began in July, with filming taking place at Screen Queensland Studios and on location throughout Brisbane and South-East Queensland, which double for Oklahoma and Florida.
The project is being supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy, in conjunction with the Federal Government’s Location Incentive Program.