Many diehard Space Jam fans were excited to find out that the classic film was getting a reboot, Space Jam: A New Legacy. Released on July 16, A New Legacy has a star-studded cast that includes LeBron James, Don Cheadle, and Zendaya, as well as a litany of popular NBA players.
While A New Legacy is James and Zendaya’s most well-known production together, it’s actually not the first animated film the two have worked on. They both starred in a critically acclaimed musical comedy several years ago, although many might be unaware of it.
Zendaya knew she wanted to star in ‘Space Jam’ because Ryan Coogler produced it
Zendaya and James connected for Space Jam after the role of Lola Bunny was offered to her by producer Ryan Coogler. During a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, Zendaya admitted that she would’ve accepted a role in any movie Coogler was associated with.
“What actually happened was I actually got a phone call from Ryan Coogler, who is producer on [Space Jam],” she said. “And when Ryan called — I mean, I’m such a fan of his, and we share roots, obviously, in Oakland. So I always have said, ‘Anything you ever call me to do, I’ll probably do it.’ And when he called about this one I was completely on board.”
LeBron James and Zendaya both starred in an animated movie years before ‘Space Jam’ came out
Even though Space Jam is undoubtedly the most popular, it’s not the first film that Zendaya and James have worked on together. The two previously starred in Smallfoot, a 2018 musical comedy that is based on an unpublished children’s book.
The rapport they developed while working on Smallfoot made joining the cast an easier decision for Zendaya.
“Obviously, [I’m] a huge fan of LeBron. And he’s always been so lovely and supportive,” she said. “We’ve done an animated movie together before, so it all just kind of made sense, and I was glad that they reached out so that I could do it.”
Zendaya has a deep admiration for ‘Space Jam’ co-star LeBron James
James’ excellence on the basketball court might’ve made him the perfect choice for the Space Jam reboot, but Zendaya says there’s so much more to the NBA champion than just his athletic prowess.
“I think he’s obviously a very talented athlete, we know that,” she said. “He’s always been such a lovely person and supporter. I remember when Euphoria came out, he tweeted about it and reached out about it. And I just think that he has been able to do such beautiful things in the realm of sport, but also outside of that when it comes to producing, or when it comes to the school. … Really, really incredible things, so I do admire that.”
She’s grateful for the opportunity to star in ‘Space Jam’
Given the popularity and influence of the Space Jam franchise, the film will surely help Zendaya move forward with her already-accomplished career. Even though her role in the film isn’t as big as some people might expect, she’s still grateful for the opportunity.
“It was kind of a small thing, but a big thing to take on because I know Lola Bunny is an iconic character and I was lucky that they wanted to use my voice to start this new chapter of what Lola is. So yeah, I felt very honored that I was reached out to,” she said.