EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Banks on directing Cocaine Bear in Ireland 1 year ago

EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Banks on directing Cocaine Bear in Ireland

Banks also discusses directing Ray Liotta in his final acting role.

On Monday evening this week, the official movie account for Cocaine Bear released its first official poster, and the internet promptly lost its mind.


ICYMI, here it is, complete with Very Good Tagline:

Today sees the release of the trailer (which you can check out below), complete with absolutely perfect choice in accompanying song.


In case you didn't know, the movie is actually inspired by true events:

"The film is inspired by the real story of a 175-pound American black bear that died after ingesting a duffel bag full of cocaine in December 1985. The cocaine was dropped out of an airplane piloted by  a former narcotics officer and convicted drug smuggler, because his plane was carrying too heavy a load. The pilot then jumped off the plane with a faulty parachute and died. The bear was found three months later in northern Georgia alongside 40 opened plastic containers of cocaine."

Of course, for this movie, that is just the beginning.

Cocaine Bear stars Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Matthew Rhys, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Brooklynn Prince, Margo Martindale and, in his final performance, the late, great Ray Liotta.


The movie is directed by Elizabeth Banks (best known for her roles in The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect series), and is produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the comedic geniuses behind 21 & 22 Jump Street, The LEGO Movies (which Banks had a voice role in), Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and The Mitchells VS The Machines.

Oh, and the movie was filmed almost entirely in Wicklow!

Check out the first trailer for the movie right here:


To celebrate the release of the trailer, JOE had an exclusive chat with the movie's director Elizabeth Banks, and we chatted about everything from filming in Ireland to working with Ray Liotta.

Check out Banks' answers to our questions right here...

On making Cocaine Bear in Ireland:

"I loved filming an Ireland, such a beautiful place. Amazing people, great crew. We truly couldn't have been happier there.

"My kids loved it. They took sailing lessons at Dublin Harbour. We went kayaking. I lived in Dalkey, which was gorgeous. So I just loved being there.


"And it was a perfect match to Georgia. People can't believe when they see the movie. They can't believe it's not Georgia."

On the strong public reaction already:

"Yeah, it's wild to trend all day on Twitter, just because of a one-sheet, so that was exciting. You know, I am cautiously optimistic that people will will like it.

"It's definitely a wild ride. It's a unique film that absolutely lives up to the title and one of the things I'm most excited about is, I feel like the trailer just scratches the surface of everything this film has to offer."

On working with Lord and Miller:

"They were attached the script before I was. What's great about me and Lord and Miller is we all kind of come from a similar comedy background, we have a very similar sense of taste when it comes to comedy.

"We've worked together on two animated movies that were huge successes and so I knew kind of what they were expecting out of the film. I just felt it's so fun when you read something that does have such a unique and distinct tone, and then you can make it with people that also understand exactly what we're going for.

"We were all very much on the same page holding hands going, 'All right, this is going to be wild, right? We're going to make this crazy. We're going to make it funny' and that's what we did. I never felt like we were not of the same brain about what we wanted to deliver to the studio, and to audiences."

On directing Ray Liotta in his final acting role:

"He has a couple great zingers in the movie, for sure. And I think he really wanted to play more - he's a villain in the piece - but he's a little more well-rounded. He's a comically unfit grandpa in the film, so that's one thing.

"And he also he's a bad guy that just doesn't believe that the bear on coke is the threat, and that plays out very interestingly.

"I will say he he goes with full gusto at everything. I mean, I asked him to do some pretty outrageous things in the film, you'll see, and he never said no. He said, 'Yes and what else can I do?'

"He was just so game for everything and that's what you need to have in an actor when you want to get a great comedic performance, they just need to be game. They need to not be afraid to look silly or fail and and clearly he's not afraid of that."

Cocaine Bear arrives in Irish cinemas on 24 February, 2023.