After months of speculation and rumored deals, consider this one a slam dunk: the long-awaited “Space Jam” sequel is not only a go, it’s also lined up quite a team to bring the second act of the story of animated heroes and basketball superstars to life. Announced via an emoji-laden tweet, complete with a frankly cute mock-up of a talent-packed locker room, the Spring Hill Entertainment feature film will be directed by “Random Acts of Flyness” creator Terence Nance, with “Creed” and “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler on board to produce.
Bonafide basketball great LeBron James is also on deck to star in and executive produce the film — no word if original star Michael Jordan will return — and classic Looney Tune hero Bugs Bunny will again be suiting up for a sequel decades in the making. The first “Space Jam” film arrived in 1996 and centered on some of the classic Looney Tunes cadre who, “in a desperate attempt to win a basketball match and earn their freedom … seek the aid of retired basketball champion, Michael Jordan.”
Of course, it all takes place in an alternate timeline set during Jordan’s brief first retirement and is wholly built around his movie-only decision to keep the ‘toons from being enslaved by alien overlords.
Through a then-inventive combination of live-action and animated material, “Space Jam” saw the Tunes playing alongside Jordan, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, and more basketball greats. James has been attempting to launch a sequel since 2014, and it seems that his desire to create a sequel to a film he professes to be one of his favorites has finally scored.
It’s exciting enough news for fans of the original, but it’s the addition of Nance — long rumored for the gig — that is most thrilling. To say he’s an offbeat choice is an understatement, but picking Nance for the job signals that perhaps “Space Jam 2” itself will be more offbeat than the usual animated sequels that Hollywood loves to make.
When Nance’s “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, it announced the filmmaker as a bold new voice in experimental cinema. Five years later, Nance brought his unique, avante-garde point of view to “Random Acts of Flyness,” an HBO late-night series that didn’t tamp down his big ideas and speaks to his creative way of storytelling.
As he told IndieWire earlier this year, “Some of what we use as avant-garde is just the nature of our style and the nature of how we talk to each other. I think it’s hyper-engaging … in a way that maybe allows space for the more avant-garde stuff to do it stylishly. I think people consume media in a way that is not linear. I think we know what tools to use to communicate and be legible on the screen so that the world consistently engages.”
Check out Spring Hill Entertainment’s tweet below.
— SpringHill Ent. (@SpringHillEnt) September 19, 2018