Elizabeth Banks Tapped to Direct 'Cocaine Bear' Thriller Inspired by True Events

The film is based on real-life events in 1985, when a 175-pound bear was discovered dead after consuming cocaine discarded by a drug smuggler.

Elizabeth Banks

Image via Getty/Jeff Spicer

Elizabeth Banks

Elizabeth Banks is headed back to the director’s chair.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress/filmmaker has signed to direct Cocaine Bear—a Universal Pictures thriller inspired by true events that occurred in the 1980s. The outlet reports the movie will be written by Jimmy Warden and will be produced under Lord Miller’s first-look deal with the studio.

Specific plot details are currently under wraps, but the film will be based on a 1985 incident involving a bear who died of a drug overdose in 1985. A New York Times report states authorities had found the 175-pound animal dead in northern Georgia, where it apparently discovered and consumed a large batch of cocaine. Investigators suspected the drugs were discarded by convicted drug smuggler Andrew Thornton as he was parachuting from a plane he had been piloting.

Thornton, a former narcotics officer, was known as the leader of a Kentucky drug-trafficking ring called “The Company.” His body was found on Sept. 11, 1985 in a Knoxville, Tennessee, residential driveway. It’s believed Thornton’s death was caused by a parachuting accident, as a crashed plane was found nearby in Macon County with no fatalities or survivors.

According to Deadline, production for Cocaine Bear is expected to begin this summer. Stay tuned as more information about the film, including casting news, become available.

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