Warner Bros. has released the first look at Space Jam: A New Legacy starring NBA legend LeBron James. The upcoming feature comes after years of rumors and fan-made posters pushing for the idea. James spent years avoiding questions regarding the updated film, but he recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly calling it "one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game, I've ever played in." "The Goon Squad is probably the best team ever assembled in basketball history," he says, a high achievement considering he recently won his fourth championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers last year.
Of course, stepping into Michael Jordan's shoes would be no easy feat. The original Space Jam (1996) is largely considered a classic and extremely successful after raking in over $90 million at the box office. James expressed feeling the pressure of taking on such a large role with high expectations but says he's confident in his abilities at his current age. "In my younger days, part of my thinking was 'Space Jam was so good, how can I top this?' " James says. "There's always going to be conversations about LeBron trying to do everything Michael [did]. But I've gotten older, and you know who you are. You know what you stand for."
The new role is only LeBron's latest foray into acting. James', who already has a long producing resume, last time on the big screen in a physical role came in Amy Schumer's Trainwreck (2015). Not only did he reveal some impressive acting abilities, but the comedians who worked alongside him admit he's got a very good sense of humor. "Amy wrote LeBron into the script almost as a joke, because he was the dream person we thought we'd never get," Judd Apatow says. "Bill Hader said he was really funny and a great guy when he hosted SNL. One weekend, Bill and I took him to lunch and pitched him the idea for his character. He got it immediately. I thought if he wasn't funny we could get something out of him, but then he shows up and his acting is very strong and he has this hilarious take on how he wants todo it. He's funny from take 1."
The fresh spin on the 1996 film will follow LeBron and the Looney Tunes squad as they dive into the world of A.I. James' along with his fictional son (Cedric Joe) take on the infamous CGI humanoid Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) in order to save their follower counts. "The general idea was the examination of Black fatherhood and how fatherhood could be unique to LeBron James specifically," producer Ryan Coogler says. James adds, "There are parents who want to push their kids to do certain things because this is what they do, but sometimes you have to look into a kid and be able to have an open mind and ear to help them become the thing they've dreamed of." Space Jam: A New Legacy is expected to premiere July 16, 2021.