NBA and basketball legend Michael Jordan, in his prime or not, is no natural actor by any stretch of the imagination. But that, and the resultant middling critical reviews, did not stop the 1996 film “Space Jam” by Warner Bros. from grossing enough from the worldwide box office to become the all-time highest earning basketball-themed movie. While the idea was popular enough to fuel sequel discussions, they only became serious by 2014, only now with LeBron James taking Jordan’s star spot. Following an announcement of other NBA players joining the cast (as with the original), an actual actor was added.
As Comic Book Resources tells it, Don Cheadle has just been tapped to join the team roster that will be the cast of “Space Jam 2,” the distant and probably thematic sequel to the nineties original that starred the tandem of the Chicago Bulls’s Michael Jordan and Looney Tunes franchise face Bugs Bunny (then voiced by Billy West). This Warner Bros. Animation and SpringHill Entertainment production might be the next big film that Cheadle would feature in following his multi-installment involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero franchise of Warner rival Disney subsidiary, Marvel Studios.
One notable point of discussion on what Cheadle’s unrevealed role would be, is if his character will feature in the real-life “3D-land” portions of “Space Jam 2,” or he will instead voice an animated character in the cartoon segments. There are actually arguments for both possibilities. While Cheadle may have portrayed US Air Force officer James Rhodes/War Machine of the Avengers for the MCU, he had also gotten experience voicing in animation when he took on the artificially-modulate voice of Donald Duck (normally squawked by Tony Anselmo) in the season 1 finale of the “Ducktales” remake on the Disney Channel.
SpringHill Entertainment has yet to reveal details on the plot of “Space Jam 2,” but their casting choices, in terms of actors and athletes, has gotten some names earlier in. Aside from Don Cheadle and LeBron James, Sonequa Martin-Green (“Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access) will play LeBron’s wife Savannah James. Other basketball players include Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson from the NBA, alongside WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and the sisters Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike. On the Looney Tunes animated side, Eric Bauza voices Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck at the least; and while no vocal talent has been revealed for her, original “Space Jam” toon debutante Lola Bunny will also return.
With “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing, and Terrence Nash as director, “Space Jam 2” is estimated to start production in the summer of 2019, looking forward to a premiere on July 16 of 2021.
Image courtesy of Hollywood Reporter