Louis Theroux recalls meeting ‘extraordinary figure’ Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin as he teases new Tiger King documentary

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Louis Theroux has become famous for his fascinating, must-watch documentaries. So TV viewers are already counting down the days until his brand new special, Shooting Joe Exotic, hits our screens.

The feature-length BBC Two film will see Louis revisiting the now infamous story of self-proclaimed "Tiger King" Joe Exotic, ten years after Louis first met the eccentric star for a documentary.

Viewers will see the presenter heading back to Oklahoma to explore the extraordinary story of what has happened to Joe in the last decade, as seen in the hit Netflix series, as he gets to know the real man behind the headlines.

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Since they last met Joe has been imprisoned and is serving a 22-year sentence after being found guilty of a murder-for-hire plot on his rival Carole Baskin and multiple animal cruelty charges.

So as well as bringing viewers up to speed with Joe’s life – and his new status as a media sensation – Louis will also interview members of Joe’s family and the now equally famous Carole Baskin.

Speaking about his memorable encounters with Joe a decade ago, Louis explains: “When I was making America’s Most Dangerous Pets in 2011, I had no idea I would still be talking about it now – and in particular about the man I met during filming, Joe Exotic.”

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“I was aware he was an amazing character from the moment I saw him on videos on the internet and when he came up in our research he came across as an extraordinary figure – a made for TV character.”

And he says that as soon as the cameras started rolling, he knew it was going to be TV gold.

Louis continues: “When we started filming him, my sense that he was a flamboyant, colourful, natural documentary subject was confirmed..”

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“There are so many funny memories filming with Joe. He would come out with so many things that were so unexpected,” Louis recalls, before picking out one particularly memorable highlight.

He says: “I remember walking through the park and he was doing something to make a lion or a tiger roar, and it roared very loudly in its cage.”

“I said “is it good to do that?” and he turned to me and deadpanned “no, we don’t encourage it” – having just done it! He has a very random, chaotic nature.”

Continuing that the story is just as compelling today, Louis said he was excited to get stuck back into the story – particularly to interview Carole.

Louis says: “Since filming Tiger King, she’s made no secret of the fact that she’s been extensively trolled. So before I interviewed Carole we exchanged some emails and did some Zoom calls and it was clear that her story would be an important part of my new documentary.”

And he’s looking forward to introducing viewers to some never seen before sides of the pair as he takes on a new angle.

Louis teases: “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, almost? Whereas they are real people involved in a real crime,” he continues.

“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. Because people aren’t always helpful, caring or nice.”

Louis Theroux: Shooting Joe Exotic will be on BBC Two on Monday 5thApril at 9pm

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