Elizabeth Banks Says Cocaine Bear Has Some Complex Themes, But ‘Lives Up To The Title’

So, outside of the film’s inherently humorous premise, what makes “Cocaine Bear” such a particularly compelling story to Banks? The actor-turned-director has actually been very clear about her inspirations so far, from Raimi to Spielberg, and taking away from films like “Jaws,” it was important to her that even though they’re in the center of a monster movie, all of her characters felt like real people. Like “Jurassic Park” before it, there’s a running theme of parenthood throughout “Cocaine Bear.”

“One of the surprising themes of the film is parenting. The film is very much about fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters, and protecting your cubs,” Banks shared with TotalFilm. “That’s one of the things that drew me to it as a mom, this story of how to be the best version of a parent.”

The time period of the film is also a significant piece of the puzzle for Banks and one that she heavily aimed to criticize — the ’80s were a significant point in America’s failed war on drugs. Banks went on to describe how this plays into the bear’s revenge story:

“[…] the war on drugs was really ramped up in the ’80s. This film takes place in 1985, which is the height of all these programmes to combat crack in America. So many of those policies went sideways, and this bear was collateral damage. Then the other thing is about nature itself. We, as humans, with our hubris, feel that we can control nature. [But] if you f*** with nature, nature will f*** with you.”

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