Kate McKinnon has done some fascinating, idiosyncratic character work during her tenure at Saturday Night Live, bringing a host of bizarre one-off characters to life as well as doing spot-on impressions of real-life figures like Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and Kellyanne Conway.
And she has now finally found a role that offers a suitable challenge for her talents; Carole Baskin. Presented at the beginning of Netflix’s documentary series Tiger King as the well-meaning CEO of a tiger sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, there is so much more to the flower-crown wearing Baskin’s story than initially meets the eye; from the way she runs Big Cat Rescue like a cult, to the persisting rumors that she murdered her second husband, billionaire Don Lewis, and fed him to one of her tigers.
A lot of people have been dream-casting a fictionalized account of the Tiger King story this week, with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson way up on the list of actors that people think could tap into the essence of Joe Exotic. But McKinnon’s had her eye on the role of Baskin for a while now — since before the documentary dropped on Netflix, in fact.
Prior to the release of Tiger King, the convoluted tale of rival zoo owners and murder for hire was told via the native art form of the new millennium: the true crime podcast. In 2019, McKinnon listened to the Joe Exotic, the second season of Over My Dead Body, an investigative podcast series from Wondery, and immediately signed on to executive-produce and star in a limited drama series based on the real-life events.
At present, the series doesn’t have a title or release date, but if there’s one thing that’ll get us all through this prolonged period of isolation, it’s the mental image of Kate McKinnon in a frazzled wig, flower crown and leopard-print leggings, channeling every ounce of eccentric in her extensive repertoire.
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