“Pablo Escobear”, the cocaine bear attacking Hollywood

“Pablo Escobear” 'Hollywood


“Cocaine Bear”, the new black comedy from Universal Studios, comes out Friday hoping to shake up Hollywood with its script very loosely based on the true story of a wild bear who swallowed a loaf of cocaine raw.

“We like to take crazy ideas seriously,” the film's co-producer Aditya Sood joked at the film's Los Angeles premiere this week.

< p>“Cocaine Bear” in its original version and “Ours under cocaine” in Quebec, “it's hard to beat that,” says Aditya Sood.

The film is inspired by an event that took place in 1985, when packets of cocaine were dropped from an airplane by smugglers in a forest in the southern United States, and later consumed by an 80 kg black bear.

The real bear, quickly nicknamed by the media “Pablo Escobear” – in reference to the Colombian trafficker Pablo Escobar – unfortunately died of an overdose. But the film imagines what would have happened if the bear had developed a craving for white powder, embarking on a murderous spree to get more of it.

Quirky idea

Screenwriter Jimmy Warden launched the idea with producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who notably worked on the animated films “The Great Lego Adventure” and “Spider-Man: New Generation”. The duo then pitched the idea to Universal.

One of Hollywood's oldest and biggest studios, Universal is known for its wide slate of diverse films, from 2022's violent Christmas comedy 'Violent Night' to Christopher Nolan's next blockbuster movie. , “Oppenheimer”.

According to film industry experts, the studio is counting on the film's unusual basic idea to stand out from the lot of feature films offered in American dark rooms recently, between superheroes that crush the box office, and comedies with mixed success.

“They're not looking for a mainstream audience – they're trying to appeal to people who like provocative, goofy movies, who want to have a good time at the movies,” says Comscore expert Paul Dergarabedian.

The film's trailer already has over 16 million views on YouTube, and the protagonist bear has his own social media account with tweets that have gone viral like, “I'm the bear who ate cocaine . This is my story.


Unsurprisingly, the film caused controversy.

Marty Makary, a well-known public health expert and author, said he was “disappointed” to see Hollywood “sensationalize cocaine once again”, showing its use as something “fun and funny”.

“We should all be hurt by works of entertainment that take lightly on drugs that are tearing our country apart,” he wrote on Twitter.

Behind the camera for 'Crazy Bear': The director of “Pitch Perfect 2” and the 2019 version of “Charlie's Angels”, Elizabeth Banks, also an actress in particular in the saga “Hunger Games”.

During an interview with AFP, Elizabeth Banks said she was ready to make the film after reading the script at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a period she describes as “the most chaotic moment in the history of humanity for centuries”.

“I thought to myself that there was no better metaphor for the chaos felt by all in 2020, than a bear high on cocaine”, assures the director.

For Keri Russell, the film's lead actress, “it was so crazy, and fun, and berserk that I thought: why wouldn't we do not this movie now”.

“It's a star. total escape,” adds the actress.