Cocaine Bear: How Jurassic Park and the Coen Brothers influenced new comedy-horror

Alden Ehrenreich in Cocaine Bear.Universal Pictures

Cocaine Bear is a high-concept comedy about a bear doing a whole bunch of cocaine, and the movie wears its influences proudly, including Jurassic Park, and the Coen Brothers.

Cocaine Bear is based on the true story of a Black Bear that ate a stash of cocaine in Georgia in 1985.

But while the real-life tale ended with the bear promptly dying, this film version imagines what happened if the bear lived, and went on a killing rampage as it searches for more of the drug.

Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the film stars the likes of Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Ray Liotta. On the eve of the movie’s release, we spoke to writer Jimmy Warden about Cocaine Bear’s many influences.

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How Jurassic Park inspired Cocaine Bear

“It was definitely Jurassic Park inspired,” Warden says of his script. “Heavily so.”

Like the Steven Spielberg classic, the Cocaine Bear action takes place in a huge park. In this instances, Chattahoochee National Forest in Northern Georgia. There’s also a beast loose, though Warden substitutes Velociraptors and a T-Rex for a coked-up bear. Another strong similarity is a pair of children – one boy and one girl – getting caught up in the mayhem.

Indeed, not only does Cocaine Bear pay homage to the esteemed creature feature, but Warden himself has (none-too-serious) plans for a prehistoric sequel, telling Dexerto: “There could be a cocaine anything movie. We’re gonna do a Cocaine Dinosaur movie!”

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The influence of the Coen Brothers and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Cocaine Bear is full of eccentric people doing odd things and delivering strange speeches. Which is no surprise, as Warden says: “I wanted to write some of the characters as if it were a Coen Brothers movie. Give them that distinct voicing. But then throw them in one of the most insane circumstances.”

The film also follows in the footsteps of a 1963 comedy about a group of disparate drivers racing to a stash of cash, with Warden explaining: “The other movie I’ve been talking about a lot – which inspired the storylines and how everybody interweaves – is It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, where you have your inciting incident, and then you have all these different distinct personalities going in search of this one thing. With those interweaving storylines. So that was something that really inspired me as well.”

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Cocaine Bear is in cinemas now, and more of our coverage can be read below…

Cocaine Bear Review | The True Story | Jurassic Park’s influence | Ray Liotta tribute | Cocaine Bear video game | Post-Credit scenes explained | Cocaine Bear 2 | Does the bear die? | Cocaine Dinosaur plans