Everything You Need To Know About The Netflix Doco 'Tiger King'

It's about to make self-isolation a wild ride.

For many of us, self-isolation, quarantine and government lockdowns mean working from home and staying indoors – but it also means prime binge-watching. With so many streaming platforms at our fingertips, we’re overwhelmed with choice – but if there’s one thing you have to watch in isolation, it’s Netflix’s new documentary series, Tiger King. Hear about it below:

Without giving too much away, Tiger King follows Joe Maldonado-Passage AKA Joe Exotic, an eccentric big cat breeder and zoo owner based in Oklahoma. Joe’s personal story is batsh*t crazy on it’s own, but it’s the broader story of Tiger King that has everyone’s tongues wagging. 

The series takes viewers down a bizarre rabbit-hole of competing big cat breeders, the fight for animal rights, murder-for-hire convictions, polyamorous relationships, accidental suicide, tiger attacks and more – leaving you bewildered and with your jaw firmly on the floor.

Here’s everything you need to know about Tiger King, the Netflix series on everyone’s lips:

Who is Joe Exotic?

Joe Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage (né Schreibvogel) is the former operator of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. 

After Exotic’s brother Garold Wayne died in a car crash in 1997, he used money from the settlement to buy a ranch in Oklahoma and turned it into a zoo dedicated to his late brother. Over the years, Exotic became a big name in the big cat world, particularly for his ‘online reality TV show’ and live tour incorporating both wild animals and magic. 

Joe Exotic is an openly gay man, who at one time had two husbands: John Finlay and Travis Maldonado, the latter of which was killed in 2017 in an accidental suicide.

In 2006, Exotic’s animal park was accused of violating the Animal Welfare Act standards. In 2011, Carole Baskin – the owner and operator of competing zoo Big Cat Rescue – protested Exotic’s use of cubs in shows. Exotic retaliated by stealing trademarks of Big Cat Rescue, and so began an almost decade-long feud between Exotic and Baskin that ended in a criminal charge for animal abuse and murder-for-hire.

Who Is Carole Baskin? 

Carole Baskin is the founder and chief executive officer of Big Cat Rescue, a not-for-profit animal rescue in Florida. 

While Baskin is portrayed as somewhat of an animal rights hero in the early episodes of Tiger King, her dark past becomes clear later on. She opened Big Cat Rescue in the early ‘90s with her then-husband Don Lewis, a much older millionaire who mysteriously disappeared in 1997. Both Lewis’ daughters from his former marriage, and Joe Exotic have accused Baskin of killing Lewis and feeding him to the tigers. Baskin denies the claims and maintains that Lewis left her without any explanation.

Throughout Tiger King, viewers witness the drama surrounding Baskin and Exotic’s longtime feud. Her biggest beef with Exotic stems from the fact he breeds big cats, whereas her mission is to give them a place to be safe and live out the rest of their lives. As mentioned previously, the animosity between Baskin and Exotic escalates to criminal levels as the series carries on. 

What Else Does Tiger King Cover?

As well as the murder, mayhem and madness between Baskin and Exotic, Tiger King uncovers the seedy underbelly of the big cat business in the United States, and the characters at the forefront of it.

During the series, we meet Exotic’s employees – many of whom are employed fresh out of jail and on an extremely low wage, Exotic’s quirky reality TV producer Rick Kirkham and other big cat breeders, including Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle and his several wives, and Mario Tabraue a convicted felon and former drug kingpin.

You can’t make this stuff up. Tiger King is available to watch now on Netflix – believe me, you don’t want to miss out on this wild rollercoaster of emotion.

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Can You Even Remember The Last Josh Hartnett Film?

An investigation into our fave teen heartthrob.

Remember in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s when Josh Hartnett was featured on the cover of every teen magazine and bedroom wall? Well, it’s been over a decade since then, and quite frankly – I couldn’t tell you the last film I saw Josh Hartnett in, and I’m not alone.

A quick Twitter search of the actor presents many variations of one core question: what happened to Josh Hartnett? 

While some may have last seen Hartnett in the 2014-2016 horror series Penny Dreadful, my most recent memory of the now 41-year-old spans all the way back to 2002, when he played the cute, sex-obsessed Matt in 40 Days and 40 Nights. 

Well, it turns out Josh Hartnett has actually appeared in a bunch of stuff in the last 18 years. In 2004, he was the lead role in the drama mystery flick Wicker Park, in 2006, he starred alongside ex-girlfriend Scarlett Johansson in The Black Dahlia, and he also had starring roles in films including Pearl Harbour, Black Hawk Down and crime thriller The Lucky Number Slevin. 

So, how come we’re not gushing over Hartnett the way we used to? Perhaps it’s because the actor maintains a relatively low profile these days, and doesn’t lean into the tabloid success and red carpet antics that so many celebrities do these days. There’s also the fact he took some time out of the spotlight to get married to fellow actress Tamsin Egerton in 2012, and raise their two kids in the UK.

In a 2004 interview with the Evening Chronicle, Hartnett said of being famous, “I know what it’s like to be in that whole world. I was up there for a couple of years, and it was uncomfortable. I think trying to stay at the top is a shortcut to unhappiness.” 

Speaking of major throwbacks, hear about Jessica Simpson’s latest comeback below:

Speaking about his break from Hollywood, Hartnett said, “I spent a bit of time really thinking about whether this was the right thing for me.”

Fast-forward to 2020 and Josh Hartnett is still singing a similar tune. In a recent interview with Variety, he said, “All those magazine covers and paparazzi and all that sort of stuff was not at all how I lived my life, and not at all who I thought myself to be. So I feel very much myself now, and I took steps to make my life not as crazy after that movie came out and was successful at it and have remained sort of outside of the fray.”

“When I was younger, it was important to me to kind of figure out who I was, what I wanted for my life, how I wanted to create my life without so much scrutiny. I did that, and now I feel comfortable being who I am in the spotlight if I need to be.

The good news is Hartnett is set to make a return to our screens in 2020 in the TV series Paradise Lost and the thriller flick Target Number One. We’ve missed you, Josh!

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

Simon Pegg's 'Shaun Of The Dead' Coronavirus PSA Is The Sequel We Needed

A far better plan.

Since COVID-19 reached global emergency status, handfuls of high profile celebrities have been speaking out on the issue, offering fans entertainment, tips on personal hygiene and words of warning against unhealthy social distancing. 

However, one star has taken a slightly different route in providing us with a little comic relief during the crisis. 

Listen to how others have been getting creative in quarantine below:

Actors Shaun Pegg and Nick Frost responded to the pandemic with their own coronavirus-themed video, an update on their 2004 zombie apocalypse comedy Shaun Of The Dead.

In the video, Pegg and Frost recreate an iconic scene from the film in which the pair are forming a ‘plan’ to beat the zombies…but with some much-needed updates.

Pegg not only makes the jokes more politically correct, but actually gives viewers some pretty sound advice. “If you can, stay at home, have a cup of tea, and wait for all of this to blow over,” he says.

“Above all, don’t be a twat about things. We’re all in this together. Don’t be selfish, look after each other, give someone a call if you think they might be lonely, OK?”

The comedy duo end their hilarious video with a nod to panic buying, and honestly, it’s the public service announcement we all needed right now. 

The Shaun of the Dead coronavirus PSA a departure from some of the more cringe-worthy celebrity announcements, including this week’s video of a-listers singing ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon. The video, which features everyone from Gal Gadot, to Mark Ruffalo, Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell and more, has copped a fair amount of criticism since it hit social media yesterday.

In response to the video, one Twitter user wrote, “Hey celebs, we don’t want to be sung to. We want you to use a million or two of your money and order ventilators, masks, and gloves from the manufacturers then donate them to a hospital. Or pay for the salaries of an entire staff at a bar, restaurant, or daycare. #imagine.”

Clearly, the community is keen to see celebs use their platforms to spread helpful messaging – and if it makes us giggle? Well, that’s just a bonus. 

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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