Keri Russell and Ray Liotta Will Fight a Drug-Fueled Grizzly in Cocaine Bear

Cocaine Bear has found its cast, as a slew of names that have just boarded the movie include Keri Russell, Ray Liotta, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Elizabeth Banks, who previously helmed Pitch Perfect 2 and Charlie’s Angels, is also on board to direct the movie. In a post on Twitter, Banks confirmed the new cast members for the project, referring to the names as a “dream team.”

Currently in the works at Universal Pictures, Cocaine Bear is exactly as it sounds, as at the center of the story will be a bear that’s had a bit too much cocaine. Written by Jimmy Warden, the script is described as a “character-driven thriller inspired by true events that took place in Kentucky in 1985.” No other information has been revealed about the project.

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The true story in question refers to an incident that occurred in 1985, when a drug smuggler had died after ejecting from his plane while flying over Kentucky. At the time, he was smuggling around $14 million worth of cocaine, and the entire batch landed in grizzly bear territory in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Locals later found the bear dead of an overdose, surrounded by 40 opened packages of cocaine that had nearly been licked clean.

Because Banks’ movie is described as a thriller, it will likely take some creative liberties with the true story. The real “cocaine bear” was not discovered until after it had already overdosed, though we can only wonder what its behavior was like as it was going through millions of dollars worth of coke at once. Perhaps Banks and Warden were also curious about how a drug-fueled bear might behave in such a situation, which could have been what inspired the movie to be made.

Details on the roles for the new cast members haven’t been divulged. Keri Russell, who’s known for her roles in shows like Felicity and The Americans, was recently seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and has a role in the upcoming horror movie Antlers. Veteran actor Ray Liotta, whose credits include Goodfellas, Field of Dreams, and Marriage Story, will also appear in The Sopranos prequel Many Saints of Newark, which just released a new trailer.

Alden Ehrenreich is best known for playing Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and he’s also acclaimed for his role in the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!. O’Shea Jackson is set to star in the Apple TV+ series Swagger and will be seen in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+. Meanwhile, Jesse Tyler Ferguson is widely known for playing Mitchell Pritchett on the long-running ABC comedy series Modern Family.

Cocaine Bear doesn’t yet have an official release date, and it’s not quiet clear exactly when filming is supposed to start. Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Aditya Sood are producing for Lord Miller alongside Banks, Brian Duffield, and Max Handelman. Robin Fisichella will executive produce. EVP Production Matt Reilly and Director of Development Christine Sun will oversee the project for Universal. This news comes to us from Deadline.

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