‘Cocaine Bear’: the true story of a bear that OD’d on coke is coming to Hollywood

Cocaine Bear is coming for you and it don’t care if you’re ready or not. The recently announced film tells the story of a hapless bear that, well, eats a tremendous amount of cocaine.

Cocaine Bear. It’s all in the title, as they say. The freshly announced film, to be directed by Charlie’s Angels and Pitch Perfect 2 director Elizabeth Banks, will tell the story of a bear who makes a wondrously illicit discovery. While based on a true story, it’s currently unclear how closely the film will follow the real-life set of events. However, for all our history buffs, it went down like this:

In 1985 a drug runner named Andrew Thornton II bailed out of a small airplane that he had been using to transport large quantities of cocaine into the United States. However, before he abandoned the failing aircraft, he threw out roughly 40 bags of cocaine while over the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Georgia.

The cocaine landed safely in the forest. The drug runner was found dead in someone’s yard in Knoxville, Tennessee.

A few months later, our titular Cocaine Bear came across this abandoned stash of cocaine. He proceed to eat it. And then, unfortunately he died. Cocaine Bear’s body was later found and autopsied. The coroner found evidence of the bear’s last meal, and therefore, the reason for his untimely demise.

Is this film for real?

As you can see, Cocaine Bear is actually a pretty sad story. There seems to be a powerful metaphor about our relationship with nature lurking underneath this absurdly comical and horrific sequence of events, but it also has the potential to be funny and bloody terrifying.

However, in the hands of Hollywood, you just don’t know. It could well end up being this year’s Sharknado.

I mean, imagine being in the pitch meeting where some razzed-up scriptwriter tries to explain the story of a razzed-up bear to an equally razzed-up Hollywood executive.

“So yeah, there’s this bear and he is hungry and he finds these big white bags. And he totally eats them. Eats it all up. No shit. Every. Last. Bit. And the bear is going crazy. Like fucking ballistic. It was cocaine that he ate by the way. So he’s running around, and freaking out, maybe he comes across some boy scouts. And like he tries to fucking eat…” 

cocaine bear
Photo: Cocaine Bear on display in Kentucky Fun Mall, Lexington

How Cocaine Bear turns out is anyone’s guess. However, I personally hope the film affords the titular bear more respect than has already been shown – that photograph of him on display is frankly appalling.

Cocaine Bear is set to release February 24, 2023.