Elizabeth Banks will direct "Cocaine Bear," a Universal Pictures thriller based on a North Georgia bear that died of a drug overdose in 1985.
Sequels, spinoffs, and remakes have plagued Hollywood for years, but Universal Pictures appears to have an answer for American cinephiles' sequel fatigue: an original film based on the peculiar 80s news story about a bear overdosing on cocaine in North Georgia. According to Complex, Elizabeth Banks — the actress known for her roles in The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin — has officially signed to direct the aptly titled Cocaine Bear.
Although not much narrative insight has been provided in regards to Cocaine Bear, Complex reports that the thriller will be written by Jimmy Warden and produced under Lord Miller’s first-look deal with Universal Pictures, and it will be built upon the premise of the 1985 incident involving a bear who died of a drug overdose in North Georgia. During the 80s, it was reported that state authorities had found a 175-pound bear dead after it apparently discovered and consumed a large batch of cocaine.
Complex reports that investigators suspected that the drugs consumed by the unassuming bear were discarded by convicted drug smuggler Andrew Thornton, who was known as the leader of a Kentucky drug-trafficking ring called "The Company" and found dead in Tennessee driveway after a speculated parachuting accident.
Whether Cocaine Bear explores the lore of Andrew Thorton or focuses entirely on that poor bear, expect more information regarding Universal Pictures' thriller once it begins production later this summer.