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A 175-pound bear once ate 70 pounds of smuggled cocaine, and now Elizabeth Banks is directing a movie about it

By Ale Russian
March 10, 2021 12:05 PM
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Elizabeth Banks
Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Elizabeth Banks' next directing project is quite the odd thriller.

Banks has signed on to direct Cocaine Bear, a Universal Pictures movie inspired a wild real-life story involving a 175-pound bear who ate a duffel bag filled with 70 pounds of smuggled cocaine in Kentucky back in 1985.

The bear later died of an overdose from the narcotic, which was dropped by smuggler Andrew Thornton as he was parachuting off a plane. According to a New York Times article at the time, the bear was found among 40 opened plastic containers with traces of the drug.

The movie counts on Lego Movie's Oscar-winning duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller as producers, based on a spec by Jimmy Warden. Banks is also producing the film, according to Variety.

The actress previously voiced the character Wyldstyle in Lord and Miller's Lego Movie franchise.

This is Banks' third time directing after helming Pitch Perfect 2 and the 2016 Charlie's Angels reboot starring Kristen Stewart.

Banks has been open about how hard it is for women in Hollywood to get the nod to direct, especially big movies. In 2015, she talked to Katie Couric about stepping behind the camera for the first time.

"You know it's a really small list of women who get to direct," she said.

The veteran actress, who has also acted as a producer on several films, decided to begin directing as a way to continuously improve her craft.

"I wanted to use more of myself and my abilities and have more control over the stories I was telling," she explained.

And adding "director" to her resume has certainly made Banks feel more legitimate in Hollywood. When Couric asked the actress what was the most "badass" thing she's ever done, she quickly replied, "Directing a movie as a woman is pretty badass," but noted that being "badass" is certainly open to interpretation.