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The ‘Cocaine Bear’ killer is taking over Hollywood


If you go down to the movies on Friday, you’re sure to be in for a big, angry, drug-fueled surprise.

“Cocaine Bear,” the new horror-comedy from Universal Pictures, hopes to shake up Hollywood with its story very loosely based on a true story of a giant wild bear who overdosed on narcotics.

“We like to take crazy ideas very seriously,” co-producer Aditya Sood joked at the film’s Los Angeles premiere this week.

“So ‘Cocaine Bear’ – it’s hard to beat that one.”

The film is inspired by a real-life incident in 1985, when cocaine packets were dropped by smugglers in a southern US forest and later consumed by a 175-pound black bear.

The real bear, quickly dubbed ‘Pablo Escobear’ by the press, sadly died of an overdose – but the film imagines what could have happened if he had instead developed a taste for cocaine and embarked on a savage killing to buy more.

Writer Jimmy Warden pitched his idea to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the acclaimed producing duo behind hits like ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,’ who pitched it. in turn forwarded to Universal.

One of Hollywood’s biggest and oldest studios, Universal is known for its wide and diverse lineup, from last Christmas’ hit “Violent Night” to acclaimed Christopher Nolan drama “Oppenheimer.”

Analysts say the studio is banking on its provocative and unorthodox premise to stand out from the typical fare offered in theaters, where superhero films reign supreme and comedies have tended to falter in recent years. years.

“They’re not for the general public — they’re for people who like edgy movies, who want to have fun at the movies,” said Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“Just on the face of it, when you look at the name of the movie… the tagline ‘Get In Line’… it has a very independent, edgy spirit.”

The film’s trailer has been viewed 16 million times on YouTube, and the bear protagonist has his own Twitter account with viral posts such as: “I am the bear who ate cocaine. This is my story.”

– ‘Complete escape’ –

Unsurprisingly, the film sparked some controversy.

Marty Makary, a prominent American public health expert and author, said he was “disappointed” to see Hollywood “once again sensitizing cocaine” by “presenting cocaine use as fun and fun”.

“We should all be offended by entertainment that sheds light on the drugs that are tearing our country apart,” he said on Twitter.

Elizabeth Banks, the “Hunger Games” actress who previously stepped behind the camera for “Pitch Perfect 2” and the 2019 reboot of “Charlie’s Angels,” is directing the film.

She told AFP she was inspired to make the film after reading the script at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a time she described as “the most chaotic time in history. human for hundreds of years.

“I felt like there was no greater metaphor for the chaos we were all feeling in 2020 than a bear on cocaine.”

“It was so crazy and so fun and so wild that I thought to myself, why don’t we make this movie now?” added star Keri Russell.

“It’s like a complete escape.”

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