Perhaps it's fitting that on the same day of the 2021 Emmy Awards nominations, we're getting more clarity about a project to which we would have instinctively handed all the Emmys when it was first announced.
Following news last year that Nicolas Cage had been cast in a limited series to play Tiger King sensation Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, the 57-year-old Oscar-winning actor told Variety on Tuesday, July 13 that he is no longer involved and that the show appears to not be moving forward at Amazon.
"We should clear the record," Nic 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 come together. They felt, at one point, that it was lighting in the bottle, but that point has since faded into the distance, and it's no longer relevant."
E! News has reached out to Amazon and to the star's team for further comment.
This development is certain to disappoint plenty of fans of the Netflix phenomenon that captivated the world in April 2020—just as everyone was adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic—with the National Treasure actor joining the project from Imagine Television Studios and CBS TV in May of the same year.
After all, Nic Cage as the colorful former zoo owner seemed to be a gift from Hollywood-casting heaven—or at least, the same casting heaven that brought us previous memes of the actor shouting "Bees!" like his life depended on it.
According to Variety, producers may shop the series to other platforms, citing sources. This project is unrelated to Peacock's Joe Exotic series that continues moving forward with John Cameron Mitchell as Joe and SNL's Kate McKinnon as his adversary Carole Baskin, and is an adaptation of the Wondery podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King.
(E! and Peacock are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)