In an interview with Shadow and Act’s Jessica Otse Idaewor, Lee said that “it was time” to capitalize on LeBron James’ superstar potential with advanced technology in animation.
“I think that, that the desire was there,” he said. “You have a once in a generation superstar and LeBron James who was at the top of his game. He couldn’t be more transcendent when it comes to…the sport that he so excels at and it was time to bring them back and also to take advantage of all the technology that’s available to us.”
“Now, as far as an emotion is concerned…animated films have evolved, even though we’re using a lot of 2D, animation, hand, drawn stuff. It’s great,” he continued. “We’re also got the CG animation, the green screens [and] that we’re working with Industrial Light and Magic. So I think the combination of all of that kind of made the most sense…Basketball is one of the largest sports in the world, if not it’s right behind soccer.”
Lee praised James’ commitment to the film and its legacy, calling him a “professional.”
“LeBron was very, well-prepared, you know, he’s a professional, he’s been in front of the camera for a very long time since he was 18 years old. So he knows like what to say, how to say it,” he said. “…[H]e loves to be funny. He doesn’t think he’s up that seriously, you know, when it comes to like, you know, goofing around and things like that.”
“…He spent a lot of time on set,” Lee continued about James’ work ethic on set. “He really never went back to his trailer. He enjoyed the process, enjoy being around and being on the set and stuff like that and picking up all the energy of the background talent and interacting with his [costars], so it was pretty cool.”
Watch the interview below:
Space Jam: A New Legacy is now streaming on HBO Max.