Nicolas Cage Says His Joe Exotic Series ‘Is No Longer Relevant’ as Amazon Scraps Project

According to Nicolas Cage, the idea for the series—once considered a surefire success—is "no longer relevant" despite having the potential for quality material.

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nic cage

Though it brings no pleasure to report this, it is indeed true that we now have one less Nicolas Cage project to look forward to.

As you may recall, the Mandy icon was announced last May to be taking on the role of none other than Joe Exotic, who was enjoying a near-constant headlines presence at the time. The project was initially reported to be a scripted series from Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios that pulls from Leif Reigstad’s Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild.”

Fast forward to July 2021, however, and the series is no more.

Tuesday afternoon, Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reported that Amazon has decided “not to proceed” with the Imagine and CBS project. According to the article, the project never advanced beyond the writing stage and is “at least for now” unlikely to be the subject of additional platform shopping. The series would have marked Cage’s first major TV endeavor.

In an exclusive comment to Variety’s Brent Lang, Cage himself said the once-hot idea was “no longer relevant.”

“We should clear the record,” he said. “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.”

Complex has reached out to a rep for Amazon for additional comment.

Still a go is another Exotic-focused series, this one featuring SNL’s Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin and streaming exclusively on Peacock. In May, NBCUniversal leadership announced it had changed its mind about how to best serve the series with regards to distribution, notably scrapping previously announced plans of a cross-platform approach. 

Joe Exotic is shaping up to be a bold and provocative drama and perfectly suited for Peacock, where we can push the envelope and truly bring the story to life in a way that we would be unable to do on broadcast television,” Susan Rovner, chairman of etertainment content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said in May. 

As for Cage, there’s still plenty to be excited about among his 2021 and 2022 entries, including the already-feels-like-a-classic Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. In writer/director Tom Gormican’s upcoming film, Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself who is tasked with revisiting some of his most memorable roles after saying yes to a peculiar $1 million offer.

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