In the early days of COVID-19-induced quarantine and isolation, streaming shows went a long way in keeping the populace sane, giving all of us something dumb to talk about instead of spiraling in existential despair. One of the biggest names in pandemic-era streaming television was Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, the story of the self-styled Joe Exotic, his tiger-centric zoo business, and his fiery feud with tiger conservationist Carole Baskin. It was an absolute madhouse of a series, propelling Exotic, who is still serving jail time for allegedly planning harm upon Baskin, to celebrity status.
Several months ago, Amazon expressed an interest in creating a drama series based around Exotic’s life and pursuits, more of a biopic compared to Netflix’s outright documentary. To play the fictionalized version of Exotic, Amazon had tapped none other than Nicolas Cage, the idea of whom in a wig surrounded by tigers sounds absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, it seems both Amazon and Cage’s enthusiasm for the project has cooled in the intervening time.
Amazon execs realized that by creating this series, they would effectively be creating free advertising for Tiger King on Netflix, one of their biggest streaming competitors. Tiger King mania has also long since cooled in the year and change since its initial release. Cage was of a similar opinion, not feeling much of a spark when he read the prototype scripts.
Nicolas Cage confirms he’s no longer playing Joe Exotic for Amazon’s Tiger King project after the company seemingly loses interest. https://t.co/7CT5SYMnar pic.twitter.com/fPm1id8AbK
— IGN (@IGN) July 14, 2021
“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 come together,” Cage told Variety. “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.”