Allen Berezovsky/Getty; Vincent Sandoval/Getty Elizabeth Banks; Ray Liotta
The late actor makes one of his final big-screen appearances in the action-comedy about a drug-fueled wild animal that Banks directed. In a cover story for Variety, Banks, 48, recalled working with Liotta, the movie's villain, before his sudden death in May at 67. (According to Variety, he died one week after re-recording some audio for the movie's post-production.)
"He came to Ireland with the best attitude. He had a great time. He came for ADR and saw the film, and was like, 'Oh, my God, the bear looks so good!' " she said.
Back in May, Banks remembered Liotta in an Instagram tribute, saying they shared a "special bond."
"We met on a little film, The Details and he blew me away. I always admired his acting but I genuinely enjoyed him as a human," Banks said at the time. "He was a charmer. We have been collaborating on Cocaine Bear these past few months. I just saw him, hugged him, heard about his summer travel plans. When any actor of Ray's caliber puts trust in you as a director, it's a gift. But Ray gave me so much more."
Art Streiber for Variety
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"I had been told in the past by Hollywood producers that men wouldn't follow me, that I couldn't direct action because of that," she continued. "Ray's respect for me as a director, actress and artist, as his boss on set, meant everything to me because if you can direct Henry Hill, you can do f---ing anything in this town. I am so grateful Ray Liotta blessed my life. May he Rest In Peace."
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Elsewhere in the Variety interview, Banks, who previously directed 2019's Charlie's Angels and Pitch Perfect 2, talked about why she wanted to make the gory Cocaine Bear movie.
"I definitely wanted to make something muscular and masculine. I wanted to break down some of the mythology around what kinds of movies women are interested in making," she said. "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."
Cocaine Bear is in theaters Feb. 24.