The Cocaine Bear’s Nickname Is Probably the Least Surprising Thing About The Cocaine Bear Movie

There are many movies to look forward to this year, but the best title of them all might belong to Cocaine Bear. The comedy/thriller was helmed by Elizabeth Banks and is based on the true story of a black bear who ate an incredible amount of cocaine. Sadly, the bear did not survive his experiment with drugs, but he did earn a name for himself in Lexington, Kentucky where you can see him on display. In fact, the bear has been nicknamed “Cokey” which Banks recently shared with Total Film (via CBR).

“Everybody’s been very much on the same page about tone and levels of gore and the bear,” Banks explained. “That’s been the longest lead time, putting together sequences with Cokey – [that’s] how we refer to the bear – and getting Cokey totally ready for audiences.”

Who Stars in Cocaine Bear?

Cocaine Bear stars Keri Russell (The Americans), Emmy-winner Margo Martindale (The Americans), Emmy-winner Ray Liotta (The Many Saints of Newark), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), Kahyun Kim (American Gods), Christian Convery (Sweet Tooth), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project) and newcomer Scott Seiss.

How Did Cokey Get So Much Cocaine?

“Cokey” ingested an extreme amount of cocaine after a drug runner’s plane crashed in 1985. Andrew C. Thornton II was a former narcotics officer and convicted drug smuggler, who dumped a duffel bag of cocaine out of his plane because his plane was too heavy. Thornton intended to recover the bag himself, jumping out of the plane with a parachute, but the parachute was faulty, and Thornton died. Three months later, a 175-pound black bear was found dead in Georgia alongside 40 opened plastic containers of cocaine. The tale became popular in the region, and the animal itself was taxidermied and is still displayed at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky, where you can also buy “Cokey the Bear” merch. Naturally, the movie is taking a lot of liberties.

I felt a lot of sympathy for the bear,” Banks told EW about the real-life Cocaine Bear. “Like, wow, this bear – which, in real life, ended up dead after eating all this coke – ended up being sort of collateral damage in this War on Drugs. And I just thought, ‘Well, then this movie can be a revenge story for the bear.’ And it just gave me a point of view and a purpose for making it. Like, there’s a real message here: ‘We should not f*ck with nature, nature will win.'”


Cocaine Bear is scheduled to hit theaters on February 24th.