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You might’ve thought Hollywood would’ve replaced all live animals used in movies with fancy CGI graphics by now, but sometimes only a real, live predatory animal can fill the screen with the awe and menace required. Unfortunately, a dangerous, wild predator can still be deadly know matter how well-trained it is: Rocky, a 7 1/2 foot tall, 700 pound grizzly bear that wrestled Will Ferrell in the comedy “Semi-Pro” killed one of his trainers with a bite to the neck yesterday. The incident occurred on the grounds of the Predators in Action wild animal training center in the San Bernardino mountains east of Los Angeles.
Three experienced handlers were working with the grizzly Tuesday at the Predators in Action wild animal training center when the bear attacked Stephan Miller, 39, said San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Beavers.
Stephan Miller is the cousin of training center owner Randy Miller, she said.
Pepper spray was used to subdue and contain the bear, and there were no other injuries, Beavers said. Paramedics arriving shortly after the initial emergency call around 3 p.m. were unable to revive Stephan Miller.
Since the attack happened outside of the California Department of Fish and Game’s jurisdiction, officials aren’t sure whether the 5-year-old bear will be euthanized or not. In a sadly prophetic interview with the San Bernardino Sun, owner Randy Miller described Rocky as “the best working bear in the business,” but added, “if one of these animals gets a hold of your throat, you’re finished.”
The following two videos, which show Rocky in “Semi-Pro” and in training for the film, illustrate just how powerful and intimidating the bear could be, even in a comedic situation.
Even so, the bear can’t be blamed for being a bear. Maybe we should all settle for rubbery, fake-looking CGI animals just for the sake of everyone involved.
Either way, you can imagine Will Ferrell ending his day with a particularly bracing glass of scotch after hearing about this. — Ted Alvarez