The fact that a movie called Cocaine Bear — or as Liam accidentally re-christened it, Bear Who Has Taken Cocaine — exists is enough of a hilarious surprise, but knowing Elizabeth Banks directed it somehow puts the cherry on the sundae, somehow, it’s just such an unexpected pairing. Which is exactly the way she likes it, judging from the story:

“I definitely wanted to make something muscular and masculine,” she says. “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 literally people who are like, ‘Women don’t like math.’ It just persists.”

Sadly, the cover shot puts the most predictably Hollywood spin on this whole setup, leaning on the glam and the sultry rather than on wit. There are better ones inside, like the one of Banks gleefully dusting the nose of the bear with another kind of powder; I’d have loved to see that make the cover instead. The good news is that the story is meaty. I liked spending time with her. She gives great sound bites. For example, she’s not afraid to crack that Cocaine Bear Who Has Taken Cocaine might be a career-ender, and she’s blunt about her version of Charlie’s Angels flopping:

“I took full responsibility for ‘Charlie’s Angels’ — certainly no one else did,” Banks says, fixing me with a hard stare. “It was all laid on me and I happily accepted, because what else am I supposed to do?”

That look must have said a thousand silent things and I want to hear them all someday. The rest goes into a lot of detail about how much gore to expect in Cocaine Bear — the answer is, a lot — and how that came about, and the fact that she, like me, never did cocaine. I have decided to read between the lines and assume she, like me, read Sweet Valley High #40 and, like me, was so horrified when Regina Morrow’s heart exploded after her first snort that she swore never to do it herself. My brain (and heart) thank you, Francine Pascal, and possibly Elizabeth’s do too.

[Photo: Art Streiber, story by Adam B. Vary]