While CNN just broke the news that Tiger King subject, Joe Exotic, would be resentenced for orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot against Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin, his story was set to be relitigated on-screen at both Peacock and Amazon. However, the Amazon series that would have seen Exotic portrayed by legendary actor Nicolas Cage (National Treasure, Face/Off) was scrapped just yesterday, according to Variety.
— IGN (@IGN) July 14, 2021
Prior to Exotic’s status as a household name, thanks to Netflix’s fortuitously-timed docuseries documenting his crimes, Dan Lagana (American Vandal, Deadbeat) and Paul Young (Black-ish, Key and Peele) optioned a Texas Monthly article about the Tiger King to develop into a series. “I read two excellent scripts,” Cage described of Lagana’s adaptation of the Texas Monthly piece on Exotic, via Variety.
Between Lagana’s well-received script, Cage’s star power and Exotic’s gangbuster popularity due to Netflix’s Tiger King, the series seemed like a surefire hit for Amazon. However, according to Cage himself, the diminishing returns of Exotic’s lasting-power ultimately led to Amazon’s decision to scrap the series this week.
“I think Amazon ultimately felt that it was material that had become past tense because it took so long for it come together,” Cage disclosed to 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.”
For those still hoping to see Cage bring his signature brand of chaos to the role of Exotic, there is a dim silver lining in this week’s news. Variety reports that, though Amazon has officially scrapped the series, this version of Exotic’s story “may be shopped to other outlets.”
Despite being shelved, Cage and Amazon were not the only horse in the Tiger King adaptation race, and Peacock’s series is still moving ahead. Recently, Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Inside Out) was added to the series as Carole Baskins’ husband, starring opposite Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters) as the Big Cat Rescue owner. Peacock’s Tiger King series likewise touts Broadway star John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shrill) as Exotic and Dennis Quaid (Far From Heaven, The Day After Tomorrow) as his grizzled reality show producer Rick Kirkman (A Reason to Live, TV Junkie).
Time will tell whether the Cage and Lagana’s version of Exotic’s story will find a home or whether, much like Exotic and Baskin, the world of television just did not have room for two big cats.