Nicolas Cage Won’t Reign As Tiger King

The won't be king.

Providing further proof that we really aren’t allowed nice things, news confirmed that the perfect casting choice in recent memory isn’t coming to pass after Nicolas Cage has reportedly stepped down from the throne for Amazon’s Tiger King biopic. 

Speaking to Variety, Cage broke the bad news that Amazon’s planned project that was set to focus on Joe Exotic – star of Netflix doc Tiger King – has apparently been shelved for now and may even be picked up elsewhere. By the sounds of things though, Cage is still a fan of what he saw on the page. 

“I read two excellent scripts, which I did think were excellent,” Nicolas Cage told the trade. “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.”

‘Lightning in a bottle’ is a fairly accurate perspective. That is, if that bottle was pulled out a Florida swamp, mixed with questionable hair dye, and had a lit firework thrown inside for good measure. While it may seem like aeons ago, in the early stages of the pandemic, Joe Exotic’s story of blackmail, heartbreak and Carole Baskin dominated the world. Stranger than fiction and with enough tribal tattoos to fill last Sunday’s train back from Wembley stadium, it almost feels a task to try and replicate the insanity that was caught in Netflix’s infamous bit of binge, and yet we’re still set for one adaptation, with or without Cage. 

Shortly after the initial announcement the Oscar winner and former face transplant survivor was hired for the now-cancelled gig, SNL star Kate McKinnon signed on for a separate project with US streaming service Peacock. McKinnon is set to play Carole Baskin, and John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic. The king’s reign certainly isn’t over, but we can only hope we see Cage’s take on the character he was born to play, sooner rather than later.