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SYFY WIRE Cocaine Bear

Elizabeth Banks keeps the severed 'Cocaine Bear' head prop in her home office as a souvenir

You've heard of Smokey the Bear — now get ready to meet Cokey the Bear!

By Josh Weiss
Cocaine Bear (2023)

You've heard of Smokey the Bear — now get ready to meet Cokey the Bear! Stopping by The Tonight Show Monday evening, Elizabeth Banks revealed that charming nickname, given to the drug-addled predator of her new film: Cocaine Bear (out in theaters next weekend).

“It’s all CGI. There was no real bear," she explained of the film's powder-snorting celebrity. "But I get asked a lot about what it was like to work with a real bear and I really am proud of that because that was the goal, to create a photo-realistic [bear]. I wanted it to seem like it was a documentary of a bear doing cocaine."

RELATED: Look out, Sharknado: Elizabeth Banks wouldn't mind a shark sequel to 'Cocaine Bear'

The bear was brought to life with a motion-capture performance by Allan Henry, who studied under Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes veteran, Andy Serkis. "He walks as a quadruped on all fours," Banks added. "Anybody would blow their back out in two seconds; it takes a lot of training to actually do this work … He’s a stunt performer as well, so he could really attack and throw people around."

With that said, the crew did utilize a fake, albeit fully-detailed, bear head for lighting purposes. Banks admitted she now keeps the terrifying prop in her home office. "Recently, a repair guy came over and walked in there, turned the light on, and lost his mind."

Check out the full interview below:

Written by Jimmy Warden (The Babysitter), Cocaine Bear playfully riffs on the real-world story of a shipment of cocaine dropped over the mountains of Georgia in 1985 by smuggler Andrew Carter Thornton II. An American black bear did ingest a healthy dose of the narcotics and, not surprisingly, immediately keeled over dead from an overdose. Its cinematic counterpart, however, goes on a bloody rampage of unimaginable carnage. In the production notes, Warden cites the films of Steven Spielberg as an influence on the screenplay.

“I loved the idea of high-concept danger, but grounded with real characters overcoming real-world struggles."

Keri Russell (Antlers), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Christian Convery (Sweet Tooth), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Brooklynn Prince (The One and Only Ivan), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), Hannah Hoekstra (Faithfully Yours), Aaron Holliday (Euphoria), Margo Martindale (BoJack Horseman), and Ray Liotta (GoodFellas) co-star.

In addition to directing, Banks produced the film alongside Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Max Handelman, Brian Duffield, and Aditya Sood. Robin Mulcahy Fisichella, Alison Small, and Nikki Baida are executive producers.

Cocaine Bear arrives on the big screen Friday, Feb. 24 via Universal Pictures. Click here to purchase tickets.

Looking for more creature-based thrills? Jordan Peele's Nope is currently streaming on Peacock along with all episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.