Director Elizabeth Banks shines in Alaïa dress at LA film premiere 

DUBAI: US actress and filmmaker Elizabeth Banks sparkled in a sequined gold gown by Parisian label Alaïa, which was founded by late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa, at the Los Angeles premiere of her film “Cocaine Bear,” renamed “Crazy Bear” in Gulf cinemas.  

The star wore a sequin-embellished minidress with side draped panels that drew on opulent design references from the 1980s. The fashion house is now helmed by creative director Pieter Mulier.  

The dress drew on opulent design references from the 1980s. (Supplied)

Banks directed and co-produced the film written by US screenwriter Jimmy Warden.  

The film, which is now available in cinemas in the Middle East, is inspired by the true story of the “Cocaine Bear,” an American black bear that stumbled upon a stash of drugs in 1985. The movie imagines what might have transpired if the bear didn’t quickly die but went on a coke-fueled rampage through a national forest, terrorizing park wardens, campers and drug dealers seeking the lost shipment. After an initial taste, the bear goes after more cocaine with all the zeal of Yogi pursuing a picnic basket. 

“Cocaine Bear” was renamed “Crazy Bear” in Gulf cinemas. (Supplied)

Since her directorial debut in 2015’s “Pitch Perfect 2,” Banks has carved out a second career behind the camera. She last helmed 2019’s “Charlie’s Angels.” With Universal’s backing, “Cocaine Bear” struck her as not just a viable happening project but one where she could marry a gory animal attack movie with comedy. 

“Most people are surprised that it is a real thing, and very surprised that I’m the person that made it,” Banks said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I just got a text from someone who was like, ‘I’ve been hearing about this movie, and I had no idea you made it.’” 

“(People) love things with strong flavor. That’s the word I hear a lot in my marketing meetings,” Banks added. “It’s harder and harder to find things that are theatrically exciting. The hope was that we were making something people needed to leave their house to see.” 

The rest of the cast includes Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson, Alden Ehrenreich and Ray Liotta. It was one of Liotta’s final performances before his death last May, and one that connects back to his similarly cocaine-laced performance in “Goodfellas.”