Some films are intrinsically aligned with your childhood. For Sonequa Martin-Green, the original Space Jam was one of those movies. “I absolutely adored the original film. I was 11 when it came out. It was a big deal in my home.”
Her close connection to the 1996 film makes being a part of Space Jam: A New Legacy extremely special. “It meant a lot to me. It still does,” says Martin-Green. “Here we are furthering the legacy of this classic and I think it’s really impressive.”
In the film, Martin-Green plays Kamiyah James, a fictionalized version of LeBron James’ wife. She loved the opportunity to play a strong, yet graceful matriarch in the movie. “At the root of it all is this family, and learning how to sacrifice for your family and learning how to love your family, as their authentic selves.” She felt her role was to be the one who strategically empowers her husband and children. “That’s inspiring to me, to see that kind of grace in action, and to see that kind of graceful leadership in action.”
In addition to working with the human actors in the film, Martin-Green was part of the epic basketball game scenes taking place in the movie. That included the challenge of acting alongside a virtual army of animated characters from the Warner Brothers catalog. “I think the most difficult part is just rounding out the world for yourself in your mind’s eye,” she says about those parts of her performance. “You have to employ your imagination to such a degree that it really does take mental fortitude.” That meant creating a world in her mind that was so real she could touch it, taste it, and smell it. “You have to keep it alive for yourself, and so it takes a lot of focus.”
She believes that effort pays off in the new film. “I think that the film is a lot deeper than the original,” says Martin-Green. “It’s a big job to manage and nurture a family like that. It’s one of the things that I love and respect the most about this iteration of the Space Jam.”
You can catch Space Jam: A New Legacy in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max on July 16, 2021!
About Space Jam: A New Legacy
Welcome to the Jam! Basketball champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny with the animated/live-action event “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” from director Malcolm D. Lee and an innovative filmmaking team including Ryan Coogler and Maverick Carter. This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of profes-sional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the high-est-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.