HOLLYWOOD—Better luck next time. Unfortunately, Nicolas Cage noted the Joe Exotic role in the Amazon series isn’t happening. He won’t be stepping into the cowboy boots of Joe Exotic after all. Following the immense success of the highly viewed Netflix documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” in 2020, the eclectic actor was tapped for an eight-part dramatization of the life of the series subject Joseph Maldonado Passage, better known as Joe Exotic.
Cage was an obvious choice to take on the flamboyant former Oklahoma zookeeper, who is currently serving time behind bars for his part in orchestrating a failed murder-for-hire plot against his rival, Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin. The 57-year-old Oscar winning actor implied that Amazon Studios is scrapping the project largely because the hype surrounding “Tiger King” has mostly passed.
According to published reports, he had two excellent scripts for the show. The series may be offered to other broadcasters and platforms in Hollywood, although its unclear whether Cage would stay on board. Another TV drama about him is still going ahead, however, featuring “Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s” John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic opposite “Saturday Night Live” and “Ghostbusters” star Kate McKinnon as his nemesis Carole Baskin.
That series is being made by US network NBC’s streaming network service Peacock. A documentary about the infamous, polygamous, gun-wielding Exotic, who is currently serving 22 years in prison for attempting to hire two hitmen to murder Baskin, became a phenomenon on Netflix last year. There has been heavy speculation that Netflix will make a second season, but that has still not been confirmed. Cage, meanwhile, will soon be seen grappling with a very different kind of animal in a film titled “Pig,” which Variety called a “strange,” sad porcine drama” in which the actor gives “his best performance in years.”
Nicolas Cage’s performance in the film will be without a doubt, brilliant. He plays, Robin, a man living in Oregon wilderness with just his pig for company. The pair survive by selling truffles they find, but when his pig is taken in the middle of the night, Robin (Cage) is forced to re-enter the world he turned his back on to find out why she was taken and how he can get her back. It’s a set-up that loosely recalls the John Wick films, more recently, nobody and as Michael Sarnoski is almost deliberately toying with our expectations of what a film like this starring an actor like Cage will be.
The movie, has been beautifully shot, slowly unfolding-it’s clear that this is not going to be the revenge thriller we expect. Instead, it’s a surprisingly mournful drama that’s less about getting one’s own back and more about getting one’s own self back, an unusual journey that takes Cage, and us, deep into the surprisingly dark foodie world of Portland.
Sarnoski’s script gives an even-handed view of change, showing how the city has gone too far ahead, but also how Robin has gone too far back. The film hints at an encouraging new phase, one that sees Cage an awareness of what can happen when given the opportunity to do something other than high-volume theatrics. Sarnoski, is a gifted filmmaker, who has assembled a promising debut.
The movie is about loss, but for Cage, it’s about finding something. “Pig” is scheduled for release on July 16. On a personal level, Nicolas has been married 5 times. His latest wife is Riko Shibata, 27, whom the actor married in Las Vegas on February. He tied the know with his fifth wife at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, on February 16, honoring his late father’s birthday.
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