Space Jam 2 could have less NBA cameos than its 1996 predecessor.
LeBron James is having trouble recruiting his fellow NBA stars to join Space Jam 2, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Apparently, the sticking point with stars like Stephen Curry and James Harden is over shoe contracts. Both Curry and Harden are beholden to sneaker deals with Under Armour and Adidas, respectively. This would be in conflict with Nike, the sneaker associated with the Space Jam franchise.
Kevin Durant, another player James has tried to recruit for the film, won’t join either, but for different reasons. Even though Durant is a Nike affiliated basketball player, he is looking to create his own mark on Hollywood. He has projects in the works like Swagger, which was recently announced as part of Apple TV+’s initial lineup of programming.
The news comes after reports of Giannis Antetokounmpo passing on a role in the film. “I don’t like being Hollywood,” he said, according to our April 9 report. “I don’t like all this extra drama. I am just going to try to be me.”
However, having basketball stars as cameos might not be as crucial to the second Space Jam as it appeared to be for the first. This time around, the script will follow James’ family life, with Sonequa Martin-Green signed on to play James’ wife. Another character named Malik will also be a part of the film as James’ best friend; the character will be modeled on James’ real-life childhood friend and business partner Maverick Carter. An additional character, Dom, will be the film’s co-lead and will be cast as a teen actor. The film also now has a writing team. Ryan Coogler is co-writing the script with Sev Ohanian. Coogler’s work, in particular, often draws upon the internal and the emotional, rather than spectacle. Coogler was initially only attached as a producer.
It’s also apparent that the film will be even more inventive than the original since experimental director and Random Acts of Flyness creator Terence Nance has signed on to helm the film. Cinematographer Bradford Young, best known for his work on the genre-altering alien invasion film Arrival, has also signed on.
Space Jam 2 is slated to start filming in July 2019 and will come to theaters July 16, 2021.
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