Cocaine Bear is Actually Allan Henry

The cocaine bear in Elizabeth Banks’ Cocaine Bear is an impressive feat of visual effects wizardry, but there was an actual person behind the 227-kilogram, drug-addicted beast, and that person was New Zealander Allan Henry (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Ruanui). Zack Sharf from Variety talks to Henry about his unique role.

Henry, 41, is a motion capture veteran who played the bear on set so that actors such as Keri Russell, Ray Liotta and Alden Ehrenreich had something real to interact with during scenes. When Liotta fights the bear in the film’s third act, for instance, he was actually facing off with Henry on set.

Henry has experience playing animals thanks to his work on the Planet of the Apes trilogy. But the actor said in an interview with Slash Film that Cocaine Bear was a different beast because the eponymous animal is not as humanistic as the apes in Planet of the Apes.

To properly play a bear, Henry turned to some of the cinema’s most memorable beasts.

“Yeah, I looked at bears that have been in media, like the bear from The Revenant,” Henry said.

Original article by Zack Sharf, Variety, February 27, 2023.

Tags: Allan Henry  Cocaine Bear  Variety Magazine  

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