"Cocaine Bear" made quite a splash at the box office last weekend, raking in a better-than-expected $23.1 million. The offbeat film, set in Georgia, was mostly filmed in Ireland.
What’s "Cocaine Bear" about? “An oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists, and teens converge on a Georgia forest where a huge black bear goes on a murderous rampage after unintentionally ingesting cocaine,” says its official synopsis.
It’s actually semi-based on a 1985 drug heist gone wrong that resulted in a bear ingesting cocaine left behind by drug smugglers.
The film, directed by Elizabeth Banks, stars Keri Russell and the late Ray Liotta. Russell told RTÉ that she had a super time filming in Co Wicklow.
"It was amazing because at that time Ireland's Covid numbers were really low.
"The forests we shot in Wicklow matched the southern states pretty well.
"We stayed in Dalkey during filming, and we swam in the sea every day, so it was a really gentle way to come out of Covid,” she said.
Banks recently told Esquire that the late, great Liotta discovered his Irish roots while filming in 2021.
“He wrapped his last scene, and he was covered in blood and guts, and then he gave this beautiful speech,” she said.
“He said, ‘I’m adopted. My last name’s Liotta, and because of my career, everybody assumes I’m Italian, but I recently found out that I am actually mostly Irish.’ And we’re in Ireland.”
Banks added, “He said, ‘So this trip has been so special to me because I didn’t understand the connection that I actually had to this place and to the Irish people. And everybody’s been so nice.’”