‘That makes it okay’: Elizabeth Banks defends controversial Cocaine Bear scene

‘There were conversations about, should we age up these characters?’ Banks said

Tom Murray
Thursday 09 February 2023 12:25 GMT
Cocaine Bear trailer

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Louise Thomas

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Elizabeth Banks has discussed a controversial scene in her wild new movie, Cocaine Bear.

The movie, which Banks directs, follows a black bear in Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia, that goes on a rampage after consuming vast quantities of lost cocaine.

One scene likely to ruffle feathers when the film is released on 24 February depicts two children, played by Brooklynn Prince and Christian Convery, trying cocaine.

“It was definitely controversial,” Banks conceded in a new interview with Variety.

“There were conversations about, should we age up these characters? We all kind of held hands and we were like, ‘Guys, they’ve got to be 12.’ It’s their innocence being tested,” she said.

“That’s what was interesting to me about that scene.”

Producer Christopher Miller added: “It’s the naïveté of the kids that makes it okay. It’s what makes it so tense and funny. It doesn’t work if they’re teenagers. It has to be that age where you don’t know anything, but you want to pretend like you do.”

‘Cocaine Bear’
‘Cocaine Bear’ (Universal Pictures Australia YouTube)

Cocaine Bear is based on the true story of a bear that overdosed on the illegal substance in 1985. The bear ate 70lbs (31.8kg) of cocaine worth an estimated $15m, which was dropped out of a plane by drug smuggler Andrew Thornton, the son of wealthy Kentucky horse breeders.

Read more about the true story behind the movie here.

The movie also stars Keri Russell of The Americans, as well an ensemble cast that includes her husband Matthew Rhys, Margo Martindale, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Alden Ehrenreich and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

It also features one of the final ever movie performances of Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta, who died while filming the movie Dangerous Waters in the Dominican Republic in May last year.

Cocaine Bear is out in cinemas on Friday 24 February.

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