Cocaine Bear VFX Boss Got in Trouble for Making Cokey Too Coked Up (Exclusive)

As it turns out, there's such a thing as too much cocaine. Cocaine Bear is loosely based on the true story of a bear getting into a drug traffickers stash of cocaine in the Tennessee wilderness. As such, those behind the smash hit flick wanted to keep things realistic as possible, even though they took certain liberties with the portrayal of Cokey the Bear. In fact, there was even a time when the visual effects team pushed it a little too much when it came to Cokey.

"I think where we dialed it back, and I think where we initially dialed it all to 11 and then came back to maybe a six, was just with her sort of facial mannerisms and behaviors," Wētā FX's Robin Hollander tells us. "We gave her a lot of ticks and a lot of gurning and sort of gashing of the teeth and a bit more of a swagger when she would walk post-ambulance crash for instance."

That's where Hollander says Elizabeth Banks and the producers opted to scale it back some to make it more realistic.

"That's really the only time you see her sort of falling around a little bit. She's just been knocked around. She's had a lot of coke, she's had a lot of blood. In stress testing our animation puppet and our pipeline if you will, we really pushed that to the extreme and showed it," he adds. "And I'm not saying it wouldn't have worked, but I think quite quickly everyone agreed that this is now taking her too much into the comical."

Regardless, it was always about telling a story about a real, cocaine-fueled bear.

"I think we really wanted to straddle that fine line of, it's a real bear, but she's acting a little bit weird. But now, yeah, it's gone too far," Hollander concludes.

Directed by Elizabeth Banks (Charlie's AngelsPitch Perfect 2) from a screenplay by Jimmy Warden (The Babysitter: Killer Queen), Cocaine Bear is produced by Oscar winners Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs. The Machines) and Aditya Sood (The Martian) for Lord Miller, by Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman (Pitch Perfect franchise) for Brownstone Productions, and by Brian Duffield (Spontaneous). Robin Fisichella (Ma) is listed as executive producer.

Cocaine Bear is now in theaters.

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