Actress Elizabeth Banks is set to star in a new movie about the Beanie Baby craze of the 1990s. Along with co-star Zach Galifianakis, Banks will apparently explore the brief but volatile fad that consumed America. The Beanie Bubble will also feature Geraldine Viswanathan from 2018’s well-received comedy Blockers. Rounding out the cast is Sarah Snook from the HBO series Succession, which is currently dominating think pieces worldwide. The film is adapted from the non-fiction book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute. The book by Zac Bissonnette follows the strange path by which cheap plush toys became a billion-dollar trading industry.
The Beanie Bubble will cover the same ground as last year’s HBO documentary Beanie Mania, presumably with Elizabeth Banks and others in a fictionalized narrative. Basically, in the 1990s, a man named Ty Warner produced various stuffed animals. They were deliberately under-filled with plastic pellets (hence Beanie), which gave them a distinct look. The Beanie Babies were initially a somewhat popular toy. But they only really became a cultural craze when people began trading and reselling them. Details like minor manufacturing flaws, identification tags and special editions all became hugely, briefly important.
However, it was Warner’s canny understanding of supply and demand that turned them into a pop culture sensation. It’s assumed that the new movie from Elizabeth Banks will be showing more of his story as well as how it affected consumers. Reputedly, Warner would “retire” toys at random, creating artificial scarcity of certain varieties. Along with the advent of eBay, which allowed for easy consumer bidding and resale, the toys became hot properties. Basically, Beanie Babies were considered valuable because the people owning them thought they were. They were the NFTs of their day.
Details about the plot of The Beanie Bubble are still vague. Still, with Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis, it is already a stacked cast. It’s also an undeniably fascinating story of commerce, delusion and plush toys. Plus, with 1990s nostalgia seizing Hollywood, it’s a perfect time for this film to get into production. In recent years, Banks has begun working nearly as much behind the camera as in front of it. Her 2015 directorial debut was the Pitch Perfect 2 entry in that popular franchise, which is being developed for a TV revival. She also is in production on a movie simply called Cocaine Bear. It is another story based on non-fiction that is about what it says, a bear that got involved in cocaine. It’s sure to be a fun one, starring Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr and Alden Ehrenreich.
Along with her directing and production work, Elizabeth Banks is one of the hardest-working actors out there. She may be most recognizable for being caked in layers of makeup as Effie Trinket in the Hunger Games franchise. She also shepherded 2019’s Charlie’s Angels reboot into theaters, unfortunately to fairly lukewarm reviews. Still, she has nearly a hundred acting credits alone on her IMDb. That includes roles on 30 Rock, cult series Wet Hot American Summer and the hit Lego Movie franchise. Basically, if you’re watching a comedy right now, there’s a decent chance Elizabeth Banks is in it.