If you haven’t seen the wild trailer yet for the “inspired by true events” thriller-comedy Cocaine Bear, you’re in for a wild ride. Ray Liotta’s final acting role sees him starring in this Elizabeth Banks-directed film. He plays a drug smuggler by the name of Dentwood. Liotta’s character is based on real convicted drug smuggler Andrew Thornton, who offloaded a duffel bag of cocaine over northern Georgia in September of 1985.
Per EW, a 175-pound black bear in Georgia’s Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest then ingested the cocaine and subsequently overdosed. Its body was discovered three months later next to about 88 pounds of cocaine valued at about $20 million. Thornton also died during an attempt to abandon the overloaded plane. His parachute didn’t work properly, thanks to the 77 pounds of cocaine strapped to his body. He fell to his death on a driveway of a Knoxville, Tennessee resident. Thornton was wearing a bulletproof vest, Gucci loafers, night vision goggles, and a green army duffel bag containing roughly another $15 million worth of cocaine. He also had $4,500 in cash, 2.8 grams of gold Krugerrands, knives, and two pistols.
The real story is not nearly as gruesome as the trailer is. In 1985 investigators found the torn-up duffel bag of cocaine and the overdosed bear. Gary Garner of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation told the Associated Press at the time, “There’s nothing left but bones and a big hide.” In the four-week timespan from when the bear ate the cocaine and investigators found its body, it is most likely the animal died relatively quickly, high as a kite, with no evidence he terrorized locals on a murderous rampage. Which is what the trailer vividly shows. They’re obviously not letting truth get in the way of a great story!
Cocaine Bear hits theaters on February 24, 2023. It stars Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ice Cube, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Kahyun Kim, Christian Convery, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Brooklynn Prince and newcomer Scott Seiss. Watch the insane trailer below: