UPDATE: 2/20/14, 9:30 p.m. ET: Well, the producers might want LeBron, but according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, they don't have him yet:
Well it was fun while it lasted. LeBron sources refute Deadline report, there's no Space Jam 2 or Warner Bros. project in works
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 22, 2014
LeBron not being involved doesn't necessarily mean the project's not in some level of discussion or development, but it does mean that we're not likely to see the two-time NBA champion chilling with Yosemite Sam in the very near future. Alas.
It's been the subject of rumors, fake posters, parodies and pitches for years, and now it seems like it might actually become reality. Eighteen years after Michael Jordan joined forces with the Looney Tunes to vanquish the Monstars, some enterprising Hollywood types are reportedly developing a sequel to "Space Jam," and they want Miami Heat star LeBron James to star in it. (Hopefully his broken nose won't look too bad on camera.)
Broadcasting veteran Dick Ebersol‘s sons have come on board to develop the sequel to 1996 animated/live-action hit "Space Jam" as a starring vehicle for James [...] Another "Space Jam" film? Why not? The first film, which broke ground for Warner Bros and starred then-Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan and a slew of other top NBA players, ended up grossing $230M worldwide for the studio and even launched a kids TV series.
Charlie Ebersol, who already has a good relationship with the NFL through his "NFL Characters Unite" series on USA Network, is about ready to do the same with the NBA. He has been brought on to the produce the picture through his production company, The Company, from a script by his brother Willie Ebersol. The latter won an Emmy for the London Olympics. This is his first screenplay.
James has expressed an interest in starring in a "Space Jam" sequel on a number of occasions in the past, most notably in response to fan inquiries during question-and-answer sessions on Twitter:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2012
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 19, 2013
That said, the M.J.-era babies who regard "Space Jam" as an untouchable cultural landmark and find themselves waiting with bated breath for James to lead the Tune Squad would do well to exhale. The project moving into development doesn't necessarily mean we're going to see anything on the screen anytime soon; there have reportedly been a number of attempts to make this happen over the years, and none have gotten past the drawing board just yet. Still, it's not outside the realm of possibility, given that we know LeBron wouldn't mind making a move to the silver screen.
While the feature on James that serves as the cover story for the March edition of GQ was more notable for LeBron discussing his feelings about his absentee father, it also made mention of his on-screen aspirations: "He would like to be an actor. A comedy actor. He's shooting his first movie, 'Ballers,' with Kevin Hart." That project has been in development for years, and reportedly re-entered production in late 2013; it doesn't have an expected release date yet.
More recently, James' focus has been on the production side of things. He and business partner Maverick Carter have been developing a sitcom loosely based on their lives for the cable network Starz. The show, titled "Survivor's Remorse," was picked up earlier this month, with its first season expected to debut in the fall.
Again, we're a long way from seeing the four-time MVP walk the red carpet with Bugs and Daffy, but this is still a pretty interesting development. The logical question, of course: Which present-day NBA players would you like to see step into the slots filled back in '96 by the likes of Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley and Larry Johnson? Personally, I'll feel like it's a missed opportunity if we don't get to see James' Heat teammate Greg Oden remind us of the chameleon he once was, but that's just me. (Also, if Bill Murray doesn't make a comeback, I'm out. That's non-negotiable.) Let us know who you'd like to see in the comments below.
- - - - - - -