Our compatriots over at Bloody Disgusting call projects that almost were fully realized cinematic endeavors but fell short of an actual production Phantom Limbs – that feeling of sensation in a limb that has been removed, and a more apt phraseology I would be hard pressed to come up with. For some film and television projects seem like such a natural fit it seems all but impossible that they either don’t already exist or that they won’t blink into full-fledged existence at some later date. This pop cultural geek has a passel of film projects that never materialized for one reason or another that I carry around woefully with me, still unable to accept the fact that they’ll never be: Michael Mann’s James Dean biopic that was set to star a young and up and coming Leonardo DiCaprio; a Fright Night III set to reunite original writer-director Tom Holland with Roddy McDowall and William Ragsdale; an alternate reality version of Interview With the Vampire featuring River Phoenix, alive and well, as the interviewer. These all weigh heavily on my heart of hearts and it is with no great pleasure that I woke today to discover that yet another Phantom Limb had been added to my Trail of Tears – A Nicolas Cage tour de force performance as sideshow freak Joe Exotic in the mucho brandied about Tiger King film that had gained traction after last year’s Netflix phenomenon docuseries which captivated everyone.
Per those dream crushers over at Variety comes the exclusive news today that Amazon – the studio set to pony up the greenbacks for a Tiger King movie featuring everyone’s favorite oddball actor Nic Cage – has decided to not pursue the project. That sound you hear in the background is Pink Floyd wailing the refrain to their opus Comfortably Numb as I, boozy and crestfallen, sing along. Yeah, it’s that kind of a day.
Elaborating on the missed opportunity to portray everyone’s favorite man with a mullet, Nicolas Cage weighed in on the news: “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 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.”
So a Bon Voyage to a film that, at least Cage-style, is simply not meant to be. And while I lament being denied the giddy delight of seeing Cage sporting a mullet, at least I’ll always have his cheese-inducing performance in The Wicker Man to comfort me on those cold, lonely nights as I contemplate What Might Have Been. Phantom Limbs, indeed.