It looks like Nicolas Cage won’t be stepping into the cowboy boots of Joe Exotic after all.
Following the immense success of the highly improbable Netflix documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” in 2020, the eclectic actor was tapped for an eight-part dramatization of the life of the series’ subject, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic.
Cage was an obvious choice to take on the flamboyant former Oklahoma zookeeper, who is currently serving time behind bars for his part in orchestrating a failed murder-for-hire plot against his rival, Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin. However, speaking to Variety, the 57-year-old actor implied that Amazon Studios is scrapping the project largely because the hype surrounding “Tiger King” has mostly passed.
“We should clear the record,” Cage told the outlet. “I read two excellent scripts, which I did think were excellent, but I think Amazon ultimately felt that it was material that had become past tense because it took so long for it to come together. They felt at one point that it was lightning in a bottle, but that point has since faded into the distance and it’s no longer relevant.”
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Fortunately for those who were hoping to see Nicolas Cage take on the now infamous role, sources told the outlet that Imagine and CBS Studios, which were producing the series, are keen to shop it around to other streaming platforms or networks.
However, that could end up being a tall order given that there’s already another “Tiger King” project in the works at Peacock starring Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell as Baskin and Maldonado-Passage respectively. The latter was photographed for the first time in full Joe Exotic attire during a PDA-filled scene in front of a pet shop in Brisbane on Sunday.
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In the event that the Nicolas Cage version of Joe Exotic makes its way to TV screens, it will mark the Oscar-winning actor’s first foray into the world of television. Unfortunately, despite his name recognition and storied Hollywood career, Cage was not on the real-life Joe Exotic’s shortlist of actors to portray him in film or TV.
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“He would like Brad Pitt or David Spade to play him,” Rebecca Chaiklin, one of the filmmakers behind “Tiger King,” previously told The Hollywood Reporter. “He doesn’t refer to David Spade as David Spade — he refers to him as ‘Joe Dirt.'”