A Joe Exotic Biopic Sounds Like Fun, But Why Aren’t The Gays Upset A Straight Actor Is Playing Him?
It seems everyone in the world knows about the life and times of Joseph Schreibvogel-Maldonado-Passage, more commonly known as Joe Exotic AKA The Tiger King. The fifty-seven-year old is currently serving twenty-two years in a Texas prison for animal abuse and hiring someone to murder his rival, Carole Baskin. Exotic became a global sensation after Netflix released a docuseries on his really bizarre life. The entertainment he and his eccentric cast of characters provided up to this point has been shocking, but there’s more to come! Baskin is getting her own documentary, although it unflattering since it is about her allegedly killing her husband who suddenly disappeared. And, in some surprising and exciting news per Variety, Hollywood heavyweight Nicolas Cage will be portraying Exotic in a new scripted series. The show will focus on Exotic’s erratic behavior and basically everything we already know from the Netflix docuseries plus some more tidbits certainly to be thrown in. The producers behind Netflix’s American Vandal are behind the upcoming series, so we can definitely expect some zaniness and crude humor. The new Exotic series sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun and definitely worth a watch. And mixing the fact that Exotic and clan are the biggest subject in memes right now and Cage is long known for being a viral internet sensation, this will be well played out on social media. But what no one is bringing up right now is that Cage is a straight guy playing gay.
Personally, I have said for years that I have absolutely no qualms of any actor doing their job, but it seems that the media and the public is a little unbalanced when it comes to this topic. Just back in the summer of 2018, Scarlett Johansson faced a ruthless internet attack after wanting to bring the story of a transgender man to the big screen and play the lead role. Eventually, social justice warriors accompanied by some Hollywood workers, got their wish and Johansson was dropped from the film and production was entirely canceled. The social media outrage and extreme campaign to shut the film down prevented a transgender story being told to the masses. Her playing the role became than the fact that a major film was to be made with a transgender character as the main subject. Let’s face it, the film would have done well as Johansson has loyal fans far and wide who will watch anything she touches. But after trolling through Twitter, we’ve only seen excitement for Nicholas Cage cast as Exotic and there’s been absolutely no ‘straight playing gay’ backlash whatsoever.
Why all the sudden is Cage getting a pass for playing an LGBTQ+ character? Is it because of our long history with Cage and his career spanning generations enough to squash any outrage over this? Or, if it is not Cage, could it be the gay community is not willing to raise their hand and claim Exotic as one of their own, therefore leaving the door open for anyone to play him?
We have plenty of examples of straight and gay actors and straight and roles being interchangeable for years. Plenty of gays have played straight like Matt Bomer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and most all of his other acting jobs, and straights have played LGBTQ like Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club and Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson in Behind the Candelabra. There did not seem to be an uproar when any of these leading men were tapped to play the leads in their projects. And is that THE separation in this argument? No backlash or debate of who is playing the LGBTQ+ role if the actors are male and the roles are male? We acknowledge the argument in regard to transgender actors or roles, but if it is wrong there, why not for these non LGBTQ males acting in LGBTQ roles? Are gay male actors receiving enough roles and recognition that it’s not as big of an argument for acceptance into Hollywood as it is for transgender actors and roles?
Why do you believe there is no backlash for Cage playing a gay character?
And are you ready for Cage to see if he can pull this look off?
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.