Is ‘Cocaine Bear’ movie a true story? Fact-checking the real Georgia bear that inspired 2023 film

We’ve all been here before. In a minute you’re watching an NFL playoff game where big men move like dancing bears as they try to bat the ball into the end zone.

There’s a commercial in the next minute. Suddenly, you witness a CGI bear doing a lot of cocaine and then attacking anyone and everyone that comes on the screen.

That’s the beauty of the world we live in. A movie titled “Cocaine Bear” can be made and become an instant viral hit.

Not to be confused with Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey – also a very real, very memorable work – Cocaine Bear is pretty self-explanatory.

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It’s about a bear. He takes cocaine. Then he goes completely insane and people have to fight him to stop him. The end.

What surprises so many people about the Cocaine Bear trailer is that it claims to be “inspired by real events.” Sure, lots of movies claim that they are, but how real could a story about a bear devouring a ton of cocaine be?

Surprisingly, there is some truth to this story. However, the tone is very different than what the trailer would have you believe.

Here’s what you need to know about Cocaine Bear when the latest blockbuster movie hits theaters.

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Is the movie “Cocaine Bear” based on a true story?

Yes, “Cocaine Bear” is actually based on a true story. However, the actual events of the story present more of a mystery than an action-packed survival film.

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The New York Times ran a short story describing what happened on December 23, 1985. Spoiler alert: Long story short, a 175-pound black bear died of a cocaine overdose in Georgia after eating several containers of the drug.

How did the cocaine get into the forest?

The cocaine was apparently dropped from a plane piloted by Andrew Thornton, a convicted drug smuggler who died Sept. 11 in Knoxville, Tennessee, after carrying too heavy a load while skydiving. The bureau said the bear was found among 40 opened plastic containers containing traces of cocaine in northern Georgia on Friday.

The animal – nicknamed Pablo Eskobear (seriously) – was not believed to have hurt or killed anyone after using the cocaine. In fact, what happened prior to Eskobear’s use of the drug is not known.

Eskobear was originally believed to have used up all 75 pounds of the cocaine that had been dumped in the area. However, Eskobear only had three to four grams of the drug in his bloodstream. He may have eaten more, but the Georgia Bureau of Investigation still determined he hadn’t eaten it all.

“The question is: what happened to that holdall?” dr Kenneth Alonso, the state’s chief medical officer at the time, told The Associated Press. “The bear does not count towards the full duffel bag.”

In fact, what exactly happened to the rest of the stash remains a mystery. But you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the trailer of the film.

As for Eskobear, he is said to be on display at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky.

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What is Cocaine Bear?

Cocaine Bear is a 2023 horror comedy film directed by Elizabeth Banks. The story follows various groups of people – including cops, criminals, tourists and teenagers – as they battle a 500-pound bear in the Georgia woods who has used “a significant amount of cocaine.”

The film is slated for release in the United States on Friday, February 24. On Thursday February 23rd there will be special premiere screenings of the event.

‘Cocaine Bear’ cast

Cocaine Bear has a surprisingly good cast, highlighted by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, both of whom starred in the TV series The Americans, which ran from 2013-2018. Also joining the cast are Emmy-winning character actress Margo Martindale (“Justified”), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”), Kristofer Hivju – best known for his role as Tormund Giantsbane on Game of Thrones – and Ray Liotta in one of the last film roles before his death in May 2022.

Below is a full rundown of the notable performers and their roles:

  • Keri Russell as Colette Matthews
  • O’Shea Jackson Jr as Howard
  • Alden Ehrenreich as Marty
  • Christian Convery-Jennings as Henry
  • Brooklynn Prince as Colette’s daughter
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson
  • Ray Liotta as Dentwood
  • Isiah Whitlock Jr as Bob
  • Aaron Holliday as Stache
  • Margo Martindale
  • Matthew Rhys as Andrew C Thornton II
  • Kristofer Hivju
  • Hannah Hoekstra

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Cocaine Bear Trailer

Below is the official trailer of Cocaine Bear, for those who haven’t seen it yet.

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Please note that the trailer contains NSFW language and drug use.

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