If you’ve seen it on social media recently or keep up with movie news, Cocaine Bear is the talk of the town. The wild first trailer for the new Elizabeth Banks film premiered this week, and it caused quite a splash.
Speaking to SlashFilm, Banks spoke about her inspirations for the project and where she pulled from when putting this together. Firstly, she mentions the infamous ‘Just Say No’ campaign, and the D.A.R.E. movement feels crucial to the story. She adds, “this felt a little bit like the bear’s revenge story because the bear became collateral damage in that failed war.”
Speaking of revenge films, Banks says she went back to hardcore 80s movies. The filmmaker namedropped Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spider-Man) and John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) as directors she loved and felt she wanted to homage to here.
“I do love these movies, and I love horror, and I love gore. And I love horror comedy. I love Sam Raimi, and I love John Carpenter… This takes place in 1985, so it’s a real opportunity to create a homage to some of those kinds of films, but also to do something really unique tonally because it’s also a character piece.”
There’s been much discussion regarding the titular bear and his coke-fueled rage. Banks says no matter how outlandish the movie may seem, she wanted accuracy when crafting the bear.
“The bear is as photorealistic Nat Geo documentary as you can make the bear from the beginning. But we also knew that once the bear had coke, that was our little magic sprinkle dust that we can put on the bear and ‘oh, we can get away with a couple of things!’.”
Banks says she even nicknamed him ‘Cokey,’ which is pretty adorable and showcases the tone of what the filmmakers were going for with Cocaine Bear.
Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild dark comedy finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.
Cocaine Bear stars Keri Russell (The Americans), O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Christian Convery-Jennings (Sweet Tooth), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (BlacKkKlansman), Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), Hannah Hoekstra (Charlie’s Angels), Aaron Holliday (Sharp Objects), Margo Martindale (The Americans) and Ray Liotta (The Many Saints of Newark).
Cocaine Bear arrives in cinemas on February 24th.