Mai Morning Crew chat with Cocaine Bear's Allan Henry
Allan Henry shares how he prepared for his "drug-addicted" bear character
00:00 / 02:40
Mai Morning Crew

Kiwi actor Allan Henry tells MMC how he prepared to play the 'Cocaine Bear'

"You know if there's a 'Cocaine Shark', I mean - I'm a good swimmer".
6 March 2023 2:18PM

Wellingtonian actor/motion capture performer Allan Henry plays the bear character in the thriller/action movie 'Cocaine Bear', which is loosely based on a true event. Mai Morning Crew chatted with Allan to find out how he prepared to give a convincing performance of a high bear. 

Tegan asked if there were any inspirations from his past work experience or if it was just him winging it. Allan said that it was a combination of both.

"It's a little bit of both.  For a number of other projects, we've had to do bears and creatures on Quadruped. So there's a little bit of history looking at some of the other creatures we've worked on" Allan said.

The actor also watched a number of nature documentaries, the CCTV/phone footage, and on set he'd chat with the director, and she'd figure out how far they could push what the bear was doing.

"But also looking at nature documentaries, looking at CCTV footage and phone footage of people."

"When I was on set, when it came to the scenes with Cokey, Elizabeth - we would have conversations where she would try to figure out just how far we could push what the bear was doing, like how fast was she running, how high was she jumping, What would she, you know, was she feeling it or was she ignoring it?" he added. 

If you were wondering if Cokey was the name of the bear, Allan has confirmed that it's the bear's nickname and he explains why. 

"Because in America they have Smokey the Bear" Allan said. 

Storme asked Allan if he had attended Andy Serkis' acting school and if so, did it help him prepare to do the Bear's role. 

Andy Serkis is best known for his performance capture roles like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Caesar in the Planet of Apes film series. 

"I've done some training with Andy and have worked with Andy on a couple of gigs. One of them was he was the second unit director for The Hobbit trilogy and I was working in the stunt team for that. And then at the same time, he was also working on the Planet of the Apes film. So we would kind of finish working on The Hobbit for the day and then run across the road to Weta and then start doing some ape stuff" Allan told Mai Morning Crew. 

"But most of my training came from a guy named Terry Notary who is like, Hey, this guy is a living legend."

"Terry is good. Like Terry trains everyone. Terry and Andy worked together a lot. Terry's the guy that Andy goes to" Allan said. 

Last month NZ officials found 3.2 Tonnes of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean which was worth half a billion dollars. 'Cocaine Bear' fans have been joking about now expecting a sequel called 'Cocaine Shark', so Storme had to ask if Allan would be keen to play in it. 

To which he replied, "You know if there's a 'Cocaine Shark', I mean -  I'm a good swimmer". 

'Cocaine Bear' was released on 23 February,  and it's still playing in your nearest theatres.