Nicolas Cage was previously attached to star in the project as Joe Exotic, the eccentric subject of Netflix's 2020 docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

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Credit: JC Olivera/Getty; youtube

It looks like Nicolas Cage won't be playing Tiger King's Joe Exotic after all.

The actor, 57, revealed in an interview with Variety that he's no longer attached to the role in Amazon's scripted series about the Oklahoma zookeeper-turned-convicted felon, hinting that the entire project has been shelved.

"We should clear the record," Cage 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," he added.

A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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Nicolas Cage
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Cage's role as Exotic (né Joseph Maldonado-Passage) would have been his first-ever TV gig.

News of the project first came in May, when it was reported that an eight-episode show based on the Texas Monthly article "Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild" by Leif Reigstad was in the works.

At the time, Cage was attached to star as Exotic, with Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios producing the show.

Joseph-Maldonado-Passage
Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who is also known as "Joe Exotic"
| Credit: JoeExoticTV/Youtube

Adapted from the Wondery podcast Joe Exotic, NBCU's limited series will star John Cameron Mitchell as Exotic and Kate McKinnon as the eccentric big cat lover's rival, Carole Baskin.

Exotic became a household name after being spotlighted in Netflix's 2020 docuseries, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

The former zoo owner is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin.

Listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on Joe Exotic.