Cocaine Bear Jimmy Warden never wanted to call the comedy horror movie anything else, saying there was never a question in his mind.
And why would you? Cocaine Bear perfectly sums up the recently released movie by Elizabeth Banks, but when you choose that title, you’d better deliver. Cocaine Bear writer Jimmy Warden spoke with THR and said that he never once considered giving the movie another title.
“There was never a question in my mind,” Jimmy Warden said. “Why wouldn’t we call it Cocaine Bear? It’s not every day that a title comes your way that describes the movie in two words. You understand exactly what it is and what you want it to be.” I’m reminded of Snakes on a Plane being briefly changed to Pacific Air Flight 121 before Samuel L. Jackson demanded that it be returned to the original title. Thankfully, Cocaine Bear has fared better than Snakes on a Plane.
The true story of Cocaine Bear is just as compelling as the movie. In 1985, convicted drug smuggler Andrew Thornton was on a smuggling run from Columbia and had dumped several packages full of cocaine out of an aircraft before bailing from the plane himself. Unfortunately, he hit his head on the tail of the aircraft and wound up in a free fall to the ground, where he was found dead in someone’s driveway. Several months later, a 175-pound black bear was found dead after devouring approximately $15 million worth of cocaine that Thornton had dropped. After hearing the real-life story, Warden wanted to explore what happened with the bear. “It’s kind of the fantasy of what might have happened. What could have happened,” Warden said. “I think the goal in writing the script was: Don’t disappoint the audience. Don’t call the movie Cocaine Bear and then make it about the drug trade.“
Jimmy Warden did plenty of Google research about bears to help write the script, and he found that black bears, such as the one featured in the movie, are rarely dangerous in real life, but a pound of cocaine could easily change that. “Black bears on cocaine are probably kind of dangerous,” Warden said. “I’ve known people like that. The person’s not dangerous at all, but you give them some cocaine and, you’re like, ‘watch out.’“
Cocaine Bear is now playing in theaters, so be sure to check out a review from our own Chris Bumbray right here. Arrow in the Head’s Tyler Nichols also dove into Cocaine Bear in the premiere episode of Modern Horror Movie Talk, a new series covering the latest horror movies, news, and trailer.