Rising director Terence Nance is in advanced negotiations to direct LeBron James in Warner Bros “Space Jam 2,” TheWrap has exclusively learned. Nance is an executive producer on HBO’s late-night series “Random Acts of Flyness,” which premieres this weekend and has received an order for six half-hour episodes.
James signed a production deal with Warner Bros. and “Space Jam 2” is being developed with the new Los Angeles Laker forward in mind, though he’ll need to approve the script before officially signing on to star. Other basketball players are expected to cameo, though it’s currently unclear whether Bill Murray will return.
By all metrics, when Space Jam was released in November 1996, the film was a smash hit. It opened No. 1 at the box office, was a merchandising juggernaut for all parties involved, and helped relaunch the Looney Tunes. In today’s Hollywood, those kinds of results would immediately warrant an immediate follow-up. Now, 20 years after the original, a sequel from Fast Five director Justin Lin and NBA superstar LeBron James is reportedly in the works, a move that baffles Pytka. “I think it’s ridiculous to try and make a different movie out of it,” he declares. “I can’t see it. I can’t imagine how it could be what that film was. Not that Space Jam is a great movie, but it had something that touched that period of time because of who those athletes were and it doesn’t exist anymore.”
A few years ago, Pytka says representatives for Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard approached him to helm a sequel. He turned down that overture due to his belief that a new film wouldn’t work without the unprecedented global reach and appeal of the original production’s star. “I’ve worked with LeBron and I’ve worked with Steph Curry, and as good a player as LeBron is and as good a player as Steph Curry is, they’re not Michael Jordan,” he argues. “We will never see another player like him. He was a transcendent figure, much like Muhammad Ali. He was beyond his sport. These guys aren’t.”
Whitney Chapman, vice president and general manager of categories for Jordan Brand, provided a further explanation: "We're really excited to actually tell this story about how the Monstars are coming back, and they're coming back with a vengeance. They're really pissed that they lost the game, and they're here to wreak havoc on the game of basketball. Lots of propaganda going on and trying to have everyone to comply with this idea of their soulless game. This marketing campaign that'll go global, the story's really going to unfold around that, and then you'll have to wait to see what happens on how this new basketballer that's here today actually rises up to defy the odds of getting after the Monstars."
Patrick Patterson: Please, please, Hollywood, I’m pleading with you, do not make Space Jam 2. The past couple of years, more and more rumors have been swirling about a Space Jam sequel. I’ve seen a lot of speculation over who will star in it, when it will be released and what the plot might be. So now, as an NBA player, movie lover and grown man who has a Looney Tunes painting proudly hanging in his home, I feel it’s time for me to finally take a stand. I’m a huge movie fan. Movies are a big part of my life. This summer I even had the opportunity to help cover the Toronto International Film Festival for the CBC. So please know that I don’t say this lightly: The original Space Jam is the perfect movie. The. Perfect. Movie.
Patrick Patterson: I think the reason the original Space Jam was so amazing was that it had absolutely no business being good. I’m a professional athlete, and I think most sports movies suck, particularly the ones that cast athletes in starring roles. It’s just a fact. But for some reason, by using like random aliens as a connector, this film about Looney Tunes characters and an assortment of semiprominent-to-prominent ’90s NBA stars just … worked. It captivated you. It felt like … it actually happened. Every sports fan has watched their team slumping and in the back of their mind thought, Damn, wonder if the Monstars took their powers. It seemed so real that the most unrealistic part of the entire movie was the suggestion that Michael Jordan lived in a modest two-story home at the peak of his stardom.
Patrick Patterson: But beyond that, I think when/if Space Jam 2 is made, the hype will be unreal. The number of major celebrities and athletes involved will be staggering. The first Space Jam balanced a bunch of stars really well. It all felt natural. With Space Jam 2, I wouldn’t be surprised if egos got involved and they tried to squeeze waaaay too many athletes and celebrities into it. That only worked for the fight scenes in the Anchorman movies.
Patrick Patterson: Here’s the thing, that plot isn’t that much more ridiculous than the original Space Jam, and I just thought of it off the top of my head. So if they did make a Space Jam 2, what would be stopping them from making a Space Jam 3. Then maybe a Space Jam 4. Then maybe Space Jam 5: EuroLeague. And then nobody will ever want to watch a movie, cartoon or basketball game ever again because it’s all been ruined by this movie franchise that was never meant to be. This is a very slippery slope we’re on. I know this thing would make money. Kids dig bright fluorescent colors and characters that act silly. It’ll crush $200 million easy. Some things are bigger than money, though. Some things are sacred. I think the rich legacy of Space Jam is one of those things.
Shontell: While we're on the subject of movies, "Space Jam 2"? James: Would love to, would love to. And there have been a lot of talks about it, but, obviously, I have a great partnership with Warner Bros., and they definitely were the ones who brought "Space Jam 1," which was incredible. Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes — they did an unbelievable thing not only for my childhood, but for so many kids and so many people that followed the franchise.
Michael Jordan picks who he would choose to star in Space Jam 2. (Submitted by @lashmiller) Michael Jordan: "I would probably pick Blake Griffin."
He made a well-received crossover into film with a prominent role in Judd Apatow's "Trainwreck"; and whispers abound that he will succeed Michael Jordan in the Looney Tunes sports movie "Space Jam 2." "Maybe we’re going to do it. There’s a lot of rumors. Nothing is set yet," Carter said of "Space Jam."
While he has put such talk on the backburner, LeBron James has been linked to a commitment for Space Jam 2, a sequel to the 1996 Michael Jordan vehicle. And the one thing about LeBron is he is known to share with his friends. So could Dwyane Wade, who already has shown some acting chops, be convinced to hop aboard? "I would. I would be interested in it," Wade said. Wade said he sees nothing wrong with a follow up to the original. "Why not?" he said. "Obviously the first one was with Jordan and so many great players, so why not have one for this generation if it can be done?" Beyond Jordan, the original Space Jam also included Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and several other players of that era. Earlier during the postseason, James said of the project. "I have a great team that's handling my affairs off the court. Ever since I signed with Warner Brothers, we've been looking to do some things and figure out some things that best fit both sides. My team is handling that, and I'm not going to take my focus off what my job is right now, and that's being in the postseason right now."
LeBron James might have familiar company on the set of "Space Jam 2" ... 'cause TMZ Sports has learned producers have already reached out to Cavs star J.R. Smith for a role in the flick. We spoke to Smith's rep Daniel Hazan ... who says producers contacted him a few weeks ago to see if Smith would be down for a part -- and J.R.'s ears perked up.
"There is mutual interest," Hazan says. As for the role -- nothing's set in stone, but producers have kicked around the idea of Smith possibly voicing an animated character ... a la "the Monstars" from the original.
On Wednesday, James addressed the rumors surrounding his potential attachment to star in the film. Or, he kind of did. Via Fox Sports Ohio: "I have a great team that handles my affairs off the floor, James said after shootaround. "Since I signed with Warner Bros. we've been looking to do some things and figure out some things that best fit both sides. But my team's handling that and I'm not going to take my focus off what my job is right now, which is handling the postseason right now. " So that's a non-denial denial. "I'm not focused on it" is not "I haven't signed anything" or "I'm not going to do it" or "Are you kidding me why would I possibly risk my cultural status on this kind of idea." So you can bet that there's a good chance James winds up being announced as the star of the sequel this summer.
June 18, 2021 | 11:16 pm EDT Update
Lowe and Sixers analyst Spike Eskin discussed Simmons’ plummeting trade value on this week’s edition of The Lowe Post. His lack of shooting and floor spacing during the playoffs might be impacting his utility and the price he could draw on the NBA market. “I have news for Philly fans, the GMs of the other teams watch the playoffs very very closely. And there are definitely teams that I have talked to in the last 48 hours who were once in on Simmons, who say, at lease to me, it could be posturing, “eh, we’re a little less in than we used to be.”
Of course, the Knicks could also look to package those picks in a trade for a star player. Including this draft, New York has five first-round picks in the next three drafts. So the club has plenty of draft capital to use in a trade. If a star like Damian Lillard somehow becomes available via trade, New York would have to offer that draft capital in any trade conversations with Portland.
Tom Moore: #Sixers forward Tobias Harris on how the team bounced back from crushing Game 5 loss: ‘When you lose and have expectations, everybody has something to say.’ He said he turned his cell phone off.
Noah Levick: Doc Rivers: Sixers told Tyrese Maxey before the game he’d be on the floor late with Ben Simmons, since the Sixers would need a ball handler. “I thought this was the best defensive night of the season for him. Just really proud of him.”