Zendaya was only a few months old when the first Space Jam movie, starring Michael Jordan, hit theaters in 1996. That said, a lot has changed since the Looney Tunes dribbled across the court — with fans seemingly being the most divided over Lola Bunny’s sporty redesign in Space Jam: A New Legacy.
Lola traded in the crop top she wore in the first film for a basketball jersey, with movie execs saying they didn’t want to sexualize the cartoon character. While the move was applauded by some fans, others were outraged.
Zendaya, who voices Lola in the new film, tells Entertainment Weekly that when she was first offered to play Lola, she “didn’t know” people would be upset over the character’s updated look.
“I didn’t know it was going to be as much of a focus as it was,” she laughed. “But I understand, because she’s a lovable character. She’s very important, so I get it.”
Zendaya, 24, who said she grew up watching the original film because of her family’s love of basketball, explained that Lola’s character resonated with her because of what she stood for, and not because of what she looked like.
“I’ve always appreciated Lola because she’s the only girl on the team, kind of holding it down for the ladies — and she’s also an incredible player,” the Euphoria star expressed. “I think in this reimagining of who she is, it just leans into that a little bit more, the fact that she’s got these skills and she’s an MVP.”
Space Jam: New Legacy — also starring LeBron James, Don Cheadle and, of course, the rest of the Looney Tunes squad — hits theaters on Friday.
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