Louis Theroux is to return to America for the first time since 2019 with a new feature-length documentary, made by his indie Mindhouse, revisiting one of his most provocative subjects, Joe Exotic.

10 years since he first met Joe whilst making his documentary America’s Most Dangerous Pets, Louis returns to Oklahoma to explore what has happened since, with Joe now residing in a Federal Prison, having been found guilty of a murder-for-hire plot and multiple animal cruelty charges. But rather than a pariah, Joe is a media phenomenon with a well-funded campaign team who were attempting to win him a presidential pardon.

Looking back at his original documentary while reflecting on hours of unseen footage, Louis sets out to understand who the real Joe Exotic is. As he tries to investigate what has happened in the intervening years, he meets old friends from his original documentary, the team trying to get him out of prison and those closest to Joe who have never spoken before.

Louis Theroux said:  “This is one of those quintessentially American stories, taking place in the heartland of Oklahoma, with a cast of characters almost too colourful and larger-than-life to be believed. I spent eight or nine days filming at the park back in 2011, over the course of three separate visits. I’d forgotten how much we shot until I went back into the footage during lockdown. It’s extraordinary how much was there. Since then the story just got stranger and bigger, and in going back at the end of last year I uncovered a real-life drama that took me in directions I never could have expected.”

Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion said: “In this follow-up to Louis’ revelatory first-look at the life of Joe Exotic in America’s Most Dangerous Pets, viewers will be taken even more deeply into the weird world of one of America’s most notorious figures. This feature-length special will be full to the brim with never-before-seen footage and brand new interviews with those on all sides of the Joe Exotic story.”

Louis Theroux: The Cult of Joe Exotic (w/t) is a 1×90 For BBC Two, produced by Mindhouse Productions. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Emma Loach. The Director is Jack Rampling, the Series Producer is Emma Whitehead and the Executive Producer is Arron Fellows. It is being distributed internationally by BBC Studios.

Jon Creamer

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