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SYFY WIRE Cocaine Bear

‘Cocaine Bear’ wasn’t as dangerous for O'Shea Jackson Jr. as ‘Anaconda’ was for his dad

Killer animal movies run in O'Shea Jackson Jr.'s family, but he says the anaconda Ice Cube fought was scarier. 

By James Grebey
O’Shea Jackson Jr. in Cocaine Bear (2023); Ice Cube in Anaconda (1997)

There’s an absurd statistic that makes the rounds online every once in a while that 6% of American men think they could beat a grizzly bear in a fight. O’Shea Jackson Jr., one of the stars of the new film Cocaine Bear  — a horror-thriller-comedy about a black bear who consumes a lot of cocaine and rampages through a Georgia forest — is not part of that 6%, and he told SYFY WIRE that he’d really like to avoid a circumstance like that, actually. 

“Going against a bear, one-on-one, hand-to-hand combat? It’s not what I would categorize as a ‘Blacktivity,’ Jackson said. “It’s not something I will ever be in the market to do. I’m cool. Give me my Lakers and my air conditioning.”

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However, even though Jackson, who has starred in Straight Outta Compton, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and the Disney+ ​​Obi-Wan Kenobi series, says he’s not trying to fight killer animals, man-versus-beast duels seem to be something of a family tradition — on screen. Jackson’s father, the rapper and actor Ice Cube, battled a giant snake in the 1997 film Anaconda.

“He got the final kill in Anaconda, with the axe, which was just dope as a kid — to see your dad completely destroy this snake,” Jackson said.

If Ice Cube had any advice for his son, it perhaps wasn’t especially helpful. As Jackson put it, “His killer animal didn’t have no feet.” The jury’s out on whether a snake or a bear is a more dangerous foe, but it sure sounds like Anaconda was a more dangerous movie to make than Cocaine Bear.

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“I was on the set of Anaconda a lot. I was into reptiles and everything,” Jackson recalled. “This is the ‘90s. They’re not really popping when it comes to working technology yet. This animatronic snake, it’s 300 or 400 pounds, and it would go haywire, It would tear up the set. It destroyed catering one day. So a lot of the scenes where you see actors wrapped up in the snake — they are scared to death. Because, if this pops my dad in the mouth, it’s ‘Tragedy in Brazil as rapper Ice Cube drowns in river.’”

Fortunately, Ice Cube survived Anaconda, and Jackson made it through Cocaine Bear. Did the experience of making the film — braving the wilds and squaring off with a drug-crazed ursine — change how Jackson feels about nature?

“No,” Jackson responded, wryly. “Nature’s still scary.” 

Cocaine Bear opens in theaters on Feb. 24. Purchase tickets here!