30 Nov

Here's How Much Research And Craft Went Into Creating The Cocaine Bear Of Cocaine Bear (Aka 'Cokey')


Cocaine Bear” is one wild name with an equally wild premise to back it up. After all, it’s literally about a bear that manages to consume a ton of illegally-imported cocaine and goes on a wild rampage. If you thought the title was metaphorical, then you’d be gravely mistaken.

However, a title and premise like that require a lot more work than one might expect. For starters, filming with a real bear has the potential to cause a ton of problems from a logistical and safety perspective. First of all, how can you safely train a real bear to go wild on camera around the cast and crew, and second, how can you recreate that same wildness without the bear actually being high? For these reasons, plus a multitude of others, the bear known both affectionately and unaffectionately as Cokey in “Cocaine Bear” was created from the ground up for the film, with performance capture artist Allan Henry filling in on set, and getting replaced with a photorealistic bear via CGI in post.

/Film’s Valerie Ettenhofer recently attended the film’s trailer and footage premiere, where director Elizabeth Banks discussed the complex process that brought Cokey to life.

“Cokey was conceived from looking at tons of reference photos of black bears and figuring out the size and the shape and the markings,” Banks explained. “It was a really amazing process, going through that.”

Getting Down And Dirty

It can be pretty easy to imagine what a theoretical bear on cocaine could act like, and that might make it easy for other filmmakers to just be ridiculous with this premise. The portrayal of drugs and their side effects have always been difficult to capture accurately in film, so it takes a lot of research and effort to ensure a trip is as accurate as possible. Thankfully, while Cokey does get pretty silly during his cocaine trip, as evidenced by its trailer, the mannerisms of the bear itself are firmly grounded in reality.

“Nearly everything you see, all of the behavior you see in the movie, is based on a reference of bears,” Banks said. She also revealed that, while Cokey is a black bear, she and the rest of the production team used a wide variety of bears for their research, especially sun bears. Given how she wanted the audience to connect with the bear, the decision to make Cokey as realistic as possible was probably for the best.

“The bear is as photorealistic, Nat Geo documentary as you can make the bear, from the beginning,” said Banks. “But we also knew that once the bear had coke, that was our little magic sprinkle dust that we can put on the bear and ‘oh we can get away with a couple of things!'”

“Cocaine Bear” rips into theaters on February 24, 2023.

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The post Here’s How Much Research and Craft Went Into Creating the Cocaine Bear of Cocaine Bear (aka ‘Cokey’) appeared first on /Film.

Source: Slash Film

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