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Nicolas Cage will no longer play Joe Exotic as Amazon shelves Tiger King show

Nicolas Cage in History of Swear Words
(Image credit: Netflix)

Nicolas Cage is no longer set to play Joe Exotic as Amazon has shelved its Tiger King series, according to Variety.

"We should clear the record," Cage told the publication. "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 to 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."

The show was set to be based on the Netflix true crime miniseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, which was a hit at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and remains one of the streamer's most successful releases. The documentary explores the community of big cat conservationists and collectors in the US, namely notorious collector Joe Exotic, the "Tiger King" and owner of the G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma. 

Dan Lagana, the showrunner of the Netflix mockumentary series American Vandal, was set to serve as writer and showrunner on Amazon's Tiger King show. However, it's not the end of the road for fictionalized versions of the documentary – NBC's streaming platform Peacock has its own take on the Tiger King story on the cards, with John Cameron Mitchell playing Joe Exotic and Kate McKinnon playing Exotic's rival, the conservationist Carole Baskin. 

If the project had gone ahead, it would have been Cage's first major foray into TV – he's best known for his roles in movies like Raising Arizona, Adaptation, and National treasure. He next appears on the big screen in Pig, a thriller about a truffle forager whose beloved truffle-finding pig goes missing. His other recent projects include the crime thriller Prisoners of the Ghostland, in which he plays a notorious criminal, and the comedy horror movie Willy's Wonderland. He's also set to play a fictionalized version of himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, an action comedy that co-stars Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, and Neil Patrick Harris. 

Although the Joe Exotic series may not be going ahead on the streamer, you can check out our list of the best shows on Amazon Prime that you can watch instead.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.