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Exclusive Interview: Malcolm D. Lee, Director of Space Jam: A New Legacy

7/15/2021 • 2 min read

NBA superstar LeBron James takes his talents to Tune Land! In SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, the superstar and his fictional son Dom are trapped in a digital world and must fight their way out — using basketball, of course. Bron leans on the help of some famous Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs and Lola Bunny, to defeat a rogue A.I. character played by Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle.

The last time we saw the Tunes on the basketball court was 25 years ago, in the original 1996 movie SPACE JAM, starring NBA legend Michael Jordan. This movie's director, Malcolm D. Lee, wanted SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY to have, well, a legacy of its own and stand out from the first movie.

"25 years after the original, it was more about how do we make this movie attractive for a new audience," Lee said. "So I tried to take [the] love that I had for Looney Tunes from growing up in the 70s and 80s, you know, and Saturday morning cartoons and try to have that translate on screen as much as possible."

The movie modernizes the classic Looney Tunes style and marries it to a generational story that challenges the characters in several ways. It'll take more than hard work on the court to escape the grasp of Cheadle's determined villain. "We had this amazing script where, at its core, is a father/son story, so that was the north star in trying to figure out what's the best story to tell here,” Lee added.

Alongside James and Cheadle, the cast includes Soneque Martin-Green (who plays Kamiyah James) and Gabriel Iglesias (who voices Speedy Gonzalez), but also some newcomers like Cedric Joe, who stars as Dom. We sat down with them to talk about the ambitious movie.

“It’s great to have this sort of tour de force character where you can play all of these different facets of yourself... and to get to hang out with LeBron on set was not bad,” Cheadle said. 

Martin-Green plays LeBron’s on-screen wife. “It was amazing, I loved the original! It was a big deal in my home,” she said. "So, knowing that they were going to be bringing it back, they were going to be doing a sequel, you can’t help but ask yourself how is it going to stand up to the first one? Is it gonna do it justice? This exceeded expectations and went beyond my imagination.”

Watch our full interview with director Malcolm D. Lee and the cast to find out who they say would be in their top five on the court if they could choose:


SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY is in theatres now!


All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

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