The “Leaving Las Vegas” actor revealed in a Tuesday interview that his plans to star as the “Tiger King” in an Amazon series have been scrapped because producers felt that interest in the true-crime case had “faded.”
“We should clear the record,” Cage told Variety. “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.”
“They felt at one point that it was lightning in a bottle,” he added, “but that point has since faded into the distance and it’s no longer relevant.”
An Amazon representative confirmed to HuffPost in an email that the project is no longer in development.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is serving a 22-year prison sentence after being convicted of plotting to murder longtime rival and animal rights activist Carole Baskin, as well as violating federal wildlife laws. Global interest in the former zookeeper’s case skyrocketed last year following the release of the Netflix documentary series, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”
The Amazon project, according to reports, would have been an eight-episode series written by Dan Lagana, whose résumé includes Netflix’s “American Vandal.” The show was expected to be based on a 2019 Texas Monthly article, “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild,” rather than a direct adaptation of the Netflix series.
Cage’s casting was announced in May 2020, and drew a fair amount of buzz, given that the project would have been the Oscar winner’s first-ever television series role. The actor is currently receiving praise for his performance in Michael Sarnoski’s thriller “Pig,” which hits theaters Friday.
Meanwhile, NBC is developing a limited series based on Exotic’s case with “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” actor John Cameron Mitchell in the lead role. That series will star Kate McKinnon and Kyle MacLachlan as Carole and Howard Baskin.