As we come out of the pandemic there are a number of things we’re putting behind us. We’ve binned the sweatpants and we’ve killed our sourdough starters. The kitchen home office is now just the kitchen, with only a slight dent on the arm of the sofa where we used to sit for eight hours a day to show for 18 months of multiple lockdown and isolation. And now, another thing we’ll be leaving firmly in 2020 is the Tiger King.
The world breathlessly reported the fact that Nicolas Cage had been signed to play the eponymous star of the hit Netflix documentary, ourselves included. The announcement, made last May, confirmed that the star of The Rock, Face/Off and Con Air would be stepping in to play the role of Joe Exotic in the upcoming dramatisation. Not only that, he was going to Executive Produce the eight part series for Amazon Prime.
Well now it’s all off. Variety Magazine reported yesterday that the series has been shelved.
Nicolas Cage told Variety, who had also broken the news of the series back in 2020, “We should clear the record, 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.”
They felt at one point that it was lightning in a bottle...
Legions of Tiger King fans may be left disappointed, but the over-saturation of Tiger King coverage over the last year, culminating in a near presidential pardon from an outgoing Donald Trump, probably put paid to the chances of this version making its way from script to celluloid.
Fans may miss Cage playing the big cat loving murderer, but for any die-hard Joe Exotic fans there’s still a chance that the show will be made. And now we know there are a couple of scripts doing the rounds, it seems credible that one might be still made.
The king is not dead. Yet..
American streaming service Peacock (we hadn’t heard of it either) has signed up actors Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell to star in their own version and the original Texas Monthly article, the nexus of all the coverage the case has garnered, continues to inspire.
And there’s clearly a huge potential dividend at stake. The original Netflix documentary was watched by 34.3 million viewers in just ten days last March. Nicolas Cage might have passed, but the king is not dead. Yet.