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The film “Cocaine Bear” is a tribute to Sam Raimi and John Carpenter, says the director

While it might sound like a total horror movie idea, in 1985 a bear actually took an enormous amount of cocaine and this real-life event served as the basis for the upcoming thriller. Titled cocaine bearThe actress directs Elizabeth Bankswho also helmed by name pitch perfect 2 and the 2019 version of Charlie’s Angel. With cocaine bear As her third film to work behind the camera, the actress-turned-director shared the inspirations behind the film, which was not only inspired by true events but was created as a tribute to them Sam Raimifor one.


Speaking to CinemaBlend, Banks shared that while the upcoming film is quite humorous – considering its premise – it also has a “heart to it,” with families and friends looking out for one another in the wild and crazy times. The director revealed her intention with the film is to get audiences thinking about who to count on when things take a totally unexpected turn (just in case another bear accidentally ends up dumping a large batch of illegal drugs again consumed). Additionally, for Banks, the factors mentioned are just part of the discussion, stating that the “heart of the movie” wasn’t just because of the drug-soaked bear, but also because of her love of all things horror and gore, with a dash of comedy that thrown in for good measure.

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Citing Raimi and John ZimmermanThe actress said: “For me, the heart of the film, the reason I did it wasn’t necessarily because of the crazy bear. I love these films. I love horror and I love gore and I love comedy and I love Sam Raimi and I love John Carpenter and I felt like this would be an opportunity… this is set in 1985 so this is a real one Opportunity to create an homage to some of those types of films, but also to do something really unique because it’s also a character piece.”

Keri Russell hides from the Cocaine Bear in Elizabeth Banks' Cocaine Bear
Image via Universal Pictures

See also: ‘Cocaine Bear’: The True Story Behind Insane New Movie

Of course, Raimi is known for his in-demand work on the horror scene, as is Carpenter, who also directed 1978 Halloween film and its several of its subsequent titles. So with all this as inspiration, cocaine bear is expected to be ready for a wild theatrical experience. Also included in Banks’ inspiration list are two of them Steven Spielberg‘s films to which she said:

For me, two Steven Spielberg films that I really looked at when we were talking about doing this film early on with the studio were obviously Jaws and Jurassic Park because that’s the other thing about bears, it’s different from sharks. If you see a bear in the wild, across the field or whatever, you don’t want to run away right away. You think a little cuddly or cute [bear]. And I thought Jurassic Park did such a great job of taking that sense of wonder and awe that you haven’t seen something and then fixing it when you realize you might be.

The director added that she wanted viewers to experience the same emotions Jaw and Jurassic Park done for her.

The upcoming thriller is inspired by a drug spree in Colombia in 1985. A plane laden with drugs crashed over Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest, spilling 40 kilograms of cocaine. A black bear, also known as “Pablo EscoBear” or aptly known as “Cocaine Bear”, later came across the drugs in the forest and later died of an overdose.

cocaine bear Will hit theaters on February 24, 2023. It’s probably going to be a wild ride, as the name suggests. Until then, you can check out the trailer below.

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