Cocaine Bear writer remembers Ray Liotta’s ‘contagious’ energy on set before his death: ‘Those memories keep flooding back’
Ray Liotta had a ‘contagious’ energy on the set of Cocaine Bear before his death, the writer has revealed.
The movie legend died in his sleep on May 26, at the age of 67, meaning that the gory comedy thriller was among his last projects.
He led a star-studded cast, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Isaiah Whitlock Jr and O’Shea Jackson Jr, portraying a drug kingpin whose haul goes missing.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk ahead of the film’s release on February 24 – the same day as Liotta’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is unveiled – writer Jimmy Warden couldn’t help but rave about his actions on set.
‘Since he’s passed away, those are the memories that keep flooding back,’ he told us. ‘It was so fun working with him, and such a dream of mine. Definitely a career highlight for sure.
‘Just the energy that he brought to the set and how it made waves throughout the crew and everybody was just so excited.
‘Like, if Ray Liotta is pumped about this movie, everybody should be too and it was just contagious. That was a great experience with him.’
Liotta wasn’t the only big name taking part, with Margo Martindale, Keri Russell and Alden Ehrenreich also in the mix, while Elizabeth Banks was helming the flick.
Discussing how it was working with a huge cast on such a fun project, Warden continued: ‘I just have Margo Martindale’s voice in my head constantly, screaming the F word after she’s been mauled by the bear, her apologizing after shooting the kid in the head…
‘Her deliveries are just so funny and knowing who she is as an actor. I could say that across the board, really, with everybody. Keri, Alden, O’Shea. Obviously, Jesse, Isaiah Whitlock gives some of the funniest line reads that we have.
‘Jesse was so fun to work with too, and watching those two, Jesse and Margo, bounce off of each other was hilarious. That was a lot of fun.’
Cocaine Bear is inspired by the true story of drug runner Andrew Carter Thornton who threw three duffle bags of cocaine overboard on a small plane in 1985.
The haul landed in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, however he died while attempting to follow the bags – with a black bear finding the packages and devouring the drugs.
Sadly, the animal was found dead of an apparent overdose soon after, with the story going down in history.
Despite the film being based on the true story, a lot of the action on screen stems from fiction, with the bear instead embarking on a blood-thirsty massacre for more drugs.
There were also some eye-raising jokes, including a moment where two 12-year-old children came across the cocaine and tried it for themselves.
When asked what the most difficult scenes were to plot, Warden insisted that the interwoven stories slotted together very easily.
‘The bear is expensive, right? You have to pick and choose your scenes that you want the bear in,’ he added. ‘A lot of it was creating peril that didn’t involve the bear.
First appear at Cocaine Bear writer remembers Ray Liotta’s ‘contagious’ energy on set before his death: ‘Those memories keep flooding back’