Space Jam: A New Legacy has strangely become the most controversial movie of the year — and that was before we heard Lola Bunny speak.
On Sunday, ESPN released a Space Jam-inspired parody of its 30 For 30 series, “The Bunny & The GOAT,” featuring LeBron James, Bugs Bunny, and the rest of the Toon Squad, including Lola. Bugs’ “female merchandising counterpart” has a revised look in the sequel because she was “very sexualized” in the original film, according to director Malcolm D. Lee. He wanted to make her more “politically correct… This is a kids’ movie, why is she in a crop top? It just felt unnecessary, but at the same time there’s a long history of that in cartoons.” Surprisingly, the discussion around the “The Bunny & The GOAT” video has nothing to do with Lola’s appearance. It’s about the way she sounds.
this is a prime example of how good voice actors are at their jobs and why they should be far more respected. you cannot just cast a popular actress in a voice role and expect her to be able to do the job at the same level of quality as a professional voice actor
— brose (@BrosephSZN) June 6, 2021
I love Zendaya, but this just sounds like her natural voice rather than a voice for Lola
— A-A-Ron (@DoubleAARocks) June 6, 2021
Did y’all expect Zendaya not to sound like Zendaya I’m confused
— 𝐊𝐈𝐌𝐘𝐇𝐑. 𓂀 (@rhymik_) June 6, 2021
I love zendaya but she just sounds like she not even trying to be the character at all! She just said shit! Here you go, give me my money 😂
— Jada Holliman (@golden_lajada) June 6, 2021
I’ve not seen the original Space Jam, I care nothing about Lola Bunny, but I do care about cartoons and voice acting. Her voice doesn’t fit the character or the motions. This is awful and a prime example of a big studio casting a big name rather than someone right for the part.
— DC Comics Gamer (@ChrisJCapel) June 6, 2021
It doesn’t seem right. No hate to zendaya though
— NandoGG (@VisionNando) June 6, 2021
This is emblematic of a larger discussion about animated movies shifting away from experienced voice actors in favor of big-name celebrities ever since Robin Williams played Genie in Aladdin; it was later solidified with Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz in Shrek. They all did a great job, and Zendaya, who rules, might kill it too, even if she’s no Kath Soucie. It’s unfair to make a judgement based on a six-minute YouTube video (there’s a tinniness to her VO that hopefully won’t be in the movie).
The Emmy-winning Euphoria star already has her defenders:
But what I find fascinating is how much of a hot button issue the freaking Space Jam sequel has become. First, it was about something something cancel culture; now it’s strangers getting mad at each other because a cartoon bunny doesn’t sound the way they think a cartoon bunny should sound. Maybe it’s good A New Legacy is being released on HBO Max — think of all the in-theater fights that will be prevented.
Space Jam: A New Legacy comes out on July 16.