Louis Theroux says he wants to present a version of Joe Exotic with less “caricature” in his new documentary.
The documentary-maker is visiting the subject of the self-proclaimed Tiger King in a new feature-length BBC special.
Theroux met Exotic 10 years ago, while making the BBC film America’s Most Dangerous Pets.
The zoo owner, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, later became the subject of a Netflix documentary and is now in prison after his conviction on charges that he participated in a murder-for-hire plot of Big Cat Rescue boss Carole Baskin and violated federal wildlife laws.
Theroux said of the BBC Two documentary, in which he “sets out to understand who the real Joe Exotic” is: “It’s an extraordinary situation Joe is in now. He’s one of the most famous people in the world, arguably.
“He’s an internet icon. Carole is also extremely famous. I think that’s testament to the series and also lockdown and the collective madness of that period of time.
“But it’s a mixed blessing because there’s a tendency to see them as fictional characters … whereas they are real people involved in a real crime.
“So what I’ve tried to do with this new documentary is try and present versions of people that are close to the truth and a bit less caricature-ish.”
The documentary has the working title Louis Theroux: The Cult Of Joe Exotic.