Elizabeth Banks thinks her gory new movie Cocaine Bear could well be a ‘career-ender’

Elizabeth Banks waves while on the red carpet Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences 13th Governors Awards.

Actress and director Elizabeth Banks is aware that her new film Cocaine Bear exudes pure chaos – so much so, that it could be a a disaster for her career.

The bizarre upcoming comedy is based on the true story of a black bear that ate 34 kilos of cocaine after drug smugglers dropped it in the woods in Tennessee.

Banks, whose directorial successes include Pitch Perfect 2, knows that such an out-of-the-box film could perform well at the box office, like the hit M3GAN, or could be a hideous flop.

Speaking to Variety, she said: “Cocaine Bear is a gi-normous risk… this could be a career-ender for me.”

Her previous directorial effort, 2019’s Charlie Angels remake starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska, received a rough box office and critical reception. It grossed just $73million, and received only one accolade: the “Sequel or Remake That Shouldn’t Have Been Made” award at the Alliance of Women Film Journalists ceremony. 

Speaking about the film’s lukewarm reception, Banks said: “I took full responsibility for Charlie’s Angels – certainly no one else did. It was all laid on me and I happily accepted, because what else am I supposed to do?”

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While she knows that Cocaine Bear could receive a similar response, she was keen to take it on anyway, if only to flip the narrative around what types of films women directors are pigeonholed into. 

“I definitely wanted to make something muscular and masculine,” she told Variety.

“I wanted to break down some of the mythology around what kinds of movies women are interested in making. For some bizarre reason, there are still executives in Hollywood who are like, ‘I don’t know if women can do technical stuff’.

“There are people who are like, ‘Women don’t like math.’ It just persists,” Banks added.

While the film is first and foremost a comedy, as a tale of a cocaine-guzzling bear should be, there are elements of gore and horror.

In one scene, her co-star and friend Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays a conservationist in the film, is torn apart.

While putting the film together and working out how much gore to include, Banks had to go down a wormhole of finding out what a bear attack is really like.

“They don’t kill their prey before they eat it. They just start eating it alive,” she said.

“I don’t recommend anyone do this, but if you go down the internet hole of looking at actual animal attacks on humans, it’s gnarly as s**t.

“I love gore. I grew up on The Evil Dead. The gore is part of the fun of the ride.”

Cocaine Bear is due to open in the US and UK on 24 February.