I don't want to say "Oscar worthy" just yet, but, yeah, Oscar worthy.
Elizabeth Banks to direct bear-centric thriller COCAINE BEAR for Universal.
Elizabeth Banks is my new hero.
I also appreciate that they clarified that this would be a "bear-centric" thriller as I would not have gotten that from the title.
The film is based on true events from 1985; a 175-pound bear accidentally consumed over 70 pounds of cocaine that was dropped it from a plane by a smuggler. The exact details of the film are under wraps.
Sounds like Cocaine Bear got lawyered up quick.
The true story of Cocaine Bear is pure drama and a natural for the silver screen.
Buckle up, because you won't believe the thrill ride that is to come:
Back in 1985 a bear ate 70 pounds of cocaine a smuggler tossed out of his plane and died.
Okay, that probably needs some fleshing out storywise.
Part of the lore of Cocaine Bear is that the smuggler, Andrew Thornton was notorious at the time, a former DEA agent and member of the local elite, and the subject of a controversial book by the name of "The Bluegrass Conspiracy."
The other part of the lore is that HE'S A BEAR WHO ATE 70 POUNDS OF COCAINE AND DIED.
(May or may not be actual footage of Cocaine Bear snorting seventy pounds of cocaine.)
It's not as if the cocaine were hidden inside a shipment of T-Bones and Purina bear chow. It was just kilos and kilos of pure cocaine. And yet the bear decided to rip a package open and try some. And then try some more. And he kept going until, well, as the message says under his stuffed carcass:
"Don't do drugs or you'll end up dead (and maybe stuffed) like poor Cocaine Bear."
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Because while most stories end with the consumption of 70 pounds of cocaine and dropping dead, Cocaine Bear's story was in a sense just getting started, albeit in a "Weekend at Bernie's" kind of way only with more cocaine. And fur.
The bear was taxidermied and given to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area where they displayed him in their visitor centre.
He was put into storage during a wildfire eventually ending up in a pawn shop in Nashville where he was purchased by country music star Waylon Jennings, because at this point in the story why not?
After that, in what might be the first case of someone dying of a cocaine overdose and then going to Vegas, Jennings gave the bear to a friend in the Nevada gambling mecca before he passed away in 2002.
Cocaine Bear in Vegas. That could be a show.
The friend later passed away, and the bear was bought by Zhu T'ang for two hundred bucks. A few years later he also died.
I'm starting to think the title of the movie should be "The Curse of Cocaine Bear."
In any case, a mercantile store in Lexington, Kentucky called "Kentucky For Kentucky Fun Mall" managed to talk T'ang's widow into giving them the bear if they paid for shipping, gave him a new nickname, "Pablo EscoBear" (I am not kidding) and began displaying him as a tourist attraction.
While the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall is currently closed, you can still order all your Cocaine Bear Merch online.
Is there a Cocaine Bear snowglobe you ask?
Would this be America if there weren't?
The movie has yet to be made but in the meantime you can watch this brief report from 2016 when he first arrived back in Kentucky.
Good luck, Cocaine bear, and don't give up the residuals!