The movie is based loosely on a true story from 1985, where authorities discovered a dead bear in the Chattahoochee National Forest of Georgia. The bear was found to have died after ingesting 75 pounds of 95-percent pure cocaine from a duffel bag in the woods. The bag belonged to Andrew C. Thornton II, a former narcotics officer and convicted drug smuggler, who dropped the supplies while flying over the forest during a supply run.
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Thornton died during the same plane ride after getting caught in his parachute and crashing to the ground, while the dead bear was stuffed and bounced around from owner to owner. Currently, it can be seen on display at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington.
Banks’ film, as the title implies, focuses less on Thornton and more on the bear, which in this storyline goes on a vicious rampage through Kentucky after ingesting the cocaine. Russell plays one of the unlucky humans who gets caught in the animal’s killing spree, and she’s joined by a large ensemble cast that includes her “The Americans” co-stars Margo Martindale and her real-life husband Matthew Rhys. O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Christian Convery, and Brooklynn Prince also star in the film, which features one of the final film performances of “Goodfellas” actor Ray Liotta.
“Cocaine Bear” is Banks’ third directorial feature effort, after “Pitch Perfect 2” in 2015 and 2019’s “Charlie Angels” reboot. The actor, who most recently starred in this year’s abortion drama “Call Jane,” directs a script written by Jimmy Warden, and produces the film with Max Handelman through their Brownstone Productions banner. “21 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie’s” Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also produce the film through their Lord Miller Productions banner, along with Aditya Sood. Brian Duffield rounds out the producing team for the film, which is distributed by Universal Pictures.
“Cocaine Bear” rampages into movie theaters February 24. Watch the full trailer below.
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