Cocaine Bear would have a good cast even without its star, a bear on cocaine.
The ensemble includes Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Character Actress Margo Martindale, Kristofer Hivju, and Ray Liotta in one of his final roles. But the main draw is the titular nose candy-addicted bear, as well as the film being (very loosely) based on a true story.
“The movie flashed before my eyes,” director Elizabeth Banks told Variety about her reaction to reading the script for the first time. She’s best known for comedies like 30 Rock and Wet Hot American Summer, but she took Cocaine Bear seriously. “I don’t recommend anyone do this, but if you go down the internet hole of looking at actual animal attacks on humans, it’s f*cking gnarly as sh*t,” she said. “I love gore. I grew up on Evil Dead. The gore is part of the fun of the ride.”
Banks’ embrace of the carnage in Cocaine Bear also stems from her conviction that the movie would work only if the audience believed the animal was real. “It had to feel like a NatGeo documentary about a bear that did cocaine,” she says. “It couldn’t be something silly. It couldn’t seem animated in any way.”
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Fun fact. Cocaine Bear has already made history: it’s the only movie to ever have “cocaine” and “bear” in the title. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Cocaine Bear opens on February 24. Make it a late Valentine’s Day present.