Nonbinary actor and musician Lex Mayson has been cast as Saff, one of Joe Exotic’s employees at his famous independent zoo, in Kate McKinnon’s upcoming Joe Exotic limited series.
The series, which McKinnon is producing and starring in for Peacock, is based on the Wondery podcast of the same name. It follows big cat enthusiast Carole Baskin (McKinnon), who crosses big cat breeder Joe Exotic (John Cameron Mitchell) and ends up in an escalating rivalry with him.
The story of Joe "Exotic" became a national sensation last year when Netflix released the documentary series Tiger King, about the criminal and former independent zoo owner. Saff was one of the breakout stars of the Netflix series, as he was one of the few people interviewed who seemed to be a decent human being.
In an interview with Out, Saff said that he uses he/him pronouns, but does not identify as a trans man. He later commented on being misgendered in the Tiger King series. "I don’t think they intended to be cruel in any way, but dismissive or not, it still made a very, very loud statement about the way they feel about the LGBTQ+ community," he said. "Personally, it doesn’t bother me...but these titles and these pronouns, they matter just as much as calling someone by the wrong name. It’s something that you shouldn't dismiss."
Mayson is nonbinary and trans and has previously appeared in the shows Batwoman, Lockdown, and Woke. Aside from acting, the Black and Chinese performer is also a cosplayer.
Already cast in the series are Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator and star John Cameron Mitchell, who will be playing Schreibvogel, and SNL star Kate McKinnon, who will play his bitter rival Carole Baskin. Other cast members include Dennis Quaid, Sam Keeley, Brian Van Holt, and Nat Wolff.