When last we spoke of Space Jam 2, currently active NBA star / aspiring actor LeBron James had signed on to star in the sports-comedy sequel directed by Justin Lin. (And Michael Jordan thought that Blake Griffin should star instead.) Screenwriter Andrew Dodge (Bad Words) is onboard to pen the script … and that’s the sum total of available info.
Until today! Lin was in attendance at the ongoing TCA 2017 event to talk about his involvement in CBS’ S.W.A.T. reboot when Space Jam 2, and questions about his Hot Wheels movie ,invariably came up. /Film was able to grab Lin’s quotes on the pair of films which he’ll focus on after directing an indie movie this coming spring.
Here’s what Lin had to say about both of the major tentpole films from Warner Bros. and Mattel/Legendary Entertainment:
On both Space Jam and Hot Wheels, I have great partners. A lot of times now with these big tentpoles, everybody’s trying to jam a movie in in a limited time. I feel like I’m too old for that. I want to make sure that we do everything right, so those two projects, with Legendary [on Hot Wheels] and Warner Bros. [on Space Jam 2] they’ve been great about saying, ‘What do you need, how much time do you need? Let’s keep getting it right.’”
Lin got into specifics about logistics for Space Jam 2
“Warner Brothers has been great, I feel like it’s been very precious. Everybody at the studio’s been calling, ‘Let’s go, let’s go’ and I’m like [it’s] not right yet. To me, the challenge is we have actors who are also professional athletes, so schedule is something that is tough. I’ve been really wanting to push that genre, but to do that you need the right amount of time. So there’s a logistical challenge but also creatively, to do a sequel 20 years later with a new cast and also to be able to, in a relevant way, bring the Looney Tunes back. That’s very important to me to do it right. I feel I’ve done nine different iterations already and we’re going to keep going, but we’re getting closer every day.”
“There’s one thing that I’ve learned, there are so many sports and Space Jam fans. I run into them and everybody’s volunteering to be in the movie so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I feel like the studio’s been great because I ask for a playground and the time to really explore and that’s what we’ve been doing this whole time.
It’s a different challenge because he’s a professional basketball player. He’s not retired. When the first one happened, it was during a strike and Michael Jordan was retired. From what I’ve learned in film, you have to be passionate and when you’re ready, you’ll make it happen.”
As for Hot Wheels, Lin seems to be taking lessons from his time shepherding the Fast and Furious franchise:
“For me, Fast and Furious is not just a car movie either. I have an eight-year-old who plays with Hot Wheels all the time. To me, it’s amazing [to see] the therapeutic and healing properties of imagination. Those are themes I really want to explore through that because I had my own relationship with Hot Wheels when I was a kid and now I’m seeing it with my kid, so it is something I’m very excited about.”
“I talk to Jeremy [Renner] all the time and technically, it’s still in development. I’m one of his biggest fans and I signed on because we’ve been looking for stuff to work together and we still look for stuff to work together. It was just an opportunity at that time. It was actually getting to be really exciting but I also realized that’s a whole other franchise universe. My connection to it is Jeremy and we’re finding great things to hopefully work together. We’re in touch. I love Jeremy.”