Animals, Sex and Guns? Eric Goode Knew ‘Tiger King’ Had Potential

Dave Itzkoff in The New York Times:

When he set out to investigate the inner world of exotic animal breeders, Eric Goode had no idea he would end up making the hit Netflix series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Released less than two weeks ago, the series is already a sensation, immersing viewers in the lives and rivalries of vivid subjects like Bhagavan Antle, known as Doc, the bombastic proprietor of an animal preserve and safari tour in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Carole Baskin, an animal activist and sanctuary owner in Tampa, Fla., whose former husband disappeared in 1997. And then, of course, there’s the Tiger King himself, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, a flamboyant Oklahoma zookeeper, political candidate and aspiring celebrity who was sentenced in January to 22 years in prison for his involvement in a failed plot to kill Baskin and for killing five tiger cubs. Goode, who directed “Tiger King” with Rebecca Chaiklin, said that he had been reasonably confident the series would be successful. “How can you not be fascinated with polygamy, drugs, cults, tigers, potential murder?” Goode said in an interview on Tuesday. “It had all the ingredients that one finds salacious. So we knew that there would be an appetite for it.”

But he could hardly have suspected that “Tiger King” would arrive during the coronavirus pandemic, during which audiences have had ample time to pore over its jaw-dropping plot twists while they shelter in their homes. For some viewers, “Tiger King” has also been an introduction to Goode, 62, a founder of the fabled 1980s-era New York nightspot Area who is now an owner of downtown Manhattan establishments like the Bowery Hotel and the Waverly Inn. In an interview, Chaiklin said she first worked for Goode in the mid 1990s as a door girl and manager at the Bowery Bar and Grill. More recently, over a “crazy posh dinner,” Goode first told her about the wild kingdoms they would end up traveling together.

More here.