Nicolas Cage Says He Won't Play Joe Exotic as Amazon Shelves 'Tiger King' Project

nicolas cage
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Cage told ET that he's no longer taking on the role after Amazon shelved the project after deciding the content was "past tense."

You can say goodbye to Nicolas Cage as Joe Exotic...for now. The Oscar-winning actor was set to play the viral Tiger King star but said Amazon decided to shelve the project, inspired by the Netflix docu-series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

In a new interview with Variety, Cage said that while he was very much into the project, Amazon ultimately felt like the content was "past tense," after the series took so long to come together. ET has reached out to Amazon for comment. 

"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."

Cage seemed like the perfect fit to play the eccentric animal park owner whose bleached-blonde mullet was almost as scary as his plot to murder animal rights activist, Carole Baskin. But, the project may still find new life at other outlets, Variety notes, with other iterations of a Tiger King-inspired series are the works at Peacock, Discovery and more networks.

It was previously announced that Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon will play Joe Exotic's rival, Carole Baskin, in a limited series adapted from the Wondery podcast, Over My Dead Body Season 2: Joe ExoticRob Lowe is also reportedly in discussions to play Exotic for a new scripted series helmed by American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy.