Elizabeth Banks Says She'd Be Interested in Making 'Cocaine Shark' : ''Jaws' with Cocaine'

The phrase "cocaine shark" started trending on social media after New Zealand officials discovered over 3 tons of the drug in the Pacific Ocean

Elizabeth Banks
Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Elizabeth Banks is open to creating a wider cinematic universe of animals on drugs.

Ahead of the release of Banks' new movie Cocaine Bear, the phrase 'cocaine shark' began trending on social media Wednesday after New Zealand police reported they recovered more than three tons of cocaine floating in the Pacific Ocean, per the Associated Press and The Daily Beast.

Social media users relating the story to the real-life tale of the cocaine bear and the upcoming film starring the late Ray Liotta resulted in AMC Theaters conducting a poll on Twitter. The poll asked fans to choose between a cocaine bear and a cocaine shark, which the bear won in a landslide.

While speaking with PEOPLE on Wednesday, Banks, 48, says she was aware of the news out of New Zealand and the online clamoring for a cocaine shark follow-up movie.

"I've seen that. If there's a great story, then sure," Banks tells PEOPLE, when asked whether she would tackle another project featuring an animal on cocaine.

"Jaws with cocaine, I don't see how that loses," she adds.

Banks also tells PEOPLE that she "definitely didn't shy away from" making Cocaine Bear a gory, gnarly experience.

"In my initial presentation [I] brought to the table a lot of really gruesome real life photography of people who have had limbs ripped off and things like that, and giant gashes and bites," the director says of pitching the movie. "And [I] just sort of said, 'I want this...' I wanted The Revenant."

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Cocaine Bear previously made headlines when its trailer first released in November for its outrageous subject matter, loosely inspired by a real-life incident in which the remains of a black bear were found near a "ripped-up shipment" of cocaine that a smuggler had dropped out of a plane in a duffel bag, according to an Associated Press article from Dec. 22, 1985.

"Every time we talked about the bear, it was like, 'It's got to be The Revenant,' she adds, referencing the 2015 Leonardo DiCaprio movie. "The first couple kills have to be that gnarly so that you understand that everyone should be afraid of the bear. That was a big part of it for me."

Cocaine Bear stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Jesse Tyler Ferguson in addition to Liotta in one of his final film roles.

Cocaine Bear is in theaters Feb. 24.

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