cocaine bear

Elizabeth Banks has found her next project. The Charlie’s Angels director has signed on to direct a Universal Pictures thriller produced by her The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The movie’s title? Cocaine Bear. And that’s how you get people’s attention, folks, in spite of Banks’ underwhelming directorial career so far.

Deadline reports that Elizabeth Banks has signed on to direct Universal Pictures’ Cocaine Bear, a film written by Jimmy Warden and described as a “a character-driven thriller inspired by true events that took place in Kentucky in 1985.”

True events pertaining to something called “Cocaine Bear”? That can’t be right — and yet, it is. Per Roadside America, Cocaine Bear, affectionately known as “Pablo EskoBear,” was a 175-bound black bear that died of an overdose of cocaine after eating roughly $15 million worth of the drug that had dropped from a drug smuggler’s airplane. And the story gets crazier from there. The smuggler, Andrew Carter Thornton II, was the wealthy son of an elite Kentucky horse-breeding family who…fell to his death when he bailed out of the plane, ‘hit his head on the tail of the aircraft,’ and didn’t open his parachute until it was too late.”

It definitely sounds like the kind of absurd real-life comedy that would be the bread and butter for Lord and Miller, who directed the 21 Jump Street movies and The Lego Movies, so it’s almost a shame that they’ve handed it off to Banks, whose track record is unimpressive, to say the least. Her feature directorial debut Pitch Perfect 2 was a mean and unfunny comedy, while her Charlie’s Angels reboot was an inoffensive mess. But maybe third time’s the charm.

Banks will be producing with Max Handelman through their Brownstone Productions banner alongside Phil Lord and Chris Miller for Lord Miller. Aditya Sood, who brought the project in, is also producing Cocaine Bear as well as Brian Duffield. Executive Vice President of Production Matt Reilly and Creative Executive Christine Sun will oversee the project on behalf of Universal.

Deadline reports that the producers are aiming to start shooting the film by this summer.

No news about a cast has yet been announced, though we can likely expect Banks to star in the film as well considering her appearances in her last two films. However, she might be too busy to pull double duty again, as she is currently working with Universal and producer Marc Platt to develop and produce a live-action hybrid adaptation of The Magic Schoolbus, in which Banks is set to star as Ms. Frizzle.

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