Nicolas Cage will not play Joe Exotic in 'Tiger King' series as Amazon shelves project

The Hollywood actor said the show, based on the popular Netflix documentary series, 'no longer felt relevant'

This combination photo shows actor Nicolas Cage at the premiere of "Mandy" during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. on Jan. 19, 2018, left, and a booking mug of provided by the Santa Rosa County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic." Cage will portray Maldonado-Passage in a new limited series produced by Brian Grazer. (AP Photo, left, and Santa Rosa County Jail via AP)
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An Amazon television series based around the surreal story of Tiger King star Joe Exotic, set to be produced by and star Nicolas Cage, has been shelved.

The Oscar-winning actor is no longer involved with the project, Variety reports, with sources revealing the series may now be shopped to other streaming services.

Based on the popular Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, the series was set to explore how the zookeeper, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, “became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation.”

“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, but that point has since faded into the distance and it’s no longer relevant.”

Exotic, who became a cultural phenomenon following the release of the Netflix documentary, is now in prison for a murder contract.

The felon, 58, has served two years of his 22-year prison sentence after being convicted of plotting a murder-for-hire against his nemesis Carole Baskin, as well as a string of wildlife crimes. He has made a number of unsuccessful bids for parole.

Tiger King was watched a reported 34 million times in only 10 days following its release in March 2020, as the world went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Amazon series may be shelved, it is not the only project about Exotic in development. Another television series based on a podcast about the Tiger King story is being made by streamer Peacock, with Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell reportedly on board.

Updated: July 14, 2021, 10:04 AM