When director Malcolm D. Lee signed on to Space Jam: A New Legacy, he knew he wanted to rework Lola Bunny’s “over-sexualized” form presented in the 1996 original. What he did not know is that it would bring on a sea of “super weird” discourse concerning the now-flat chest beneath Lola’s basketball jersey.
“I had no idea that people would be that up in arms about a bunny not having boobs,” Lee told Entertainment Weekly ahead of the film’s premiere on July 16.
“Listen, I understand people don’t want things to change, but I think we needed some evolution with her, not by objectifying her but by making her strong and still feminine.”
And no, Lee emphasizes the style change does not mean that actual, living, breathing women in real life cannot have boobs and showcase strength at the same time. He just wanted the animated cartoon rabbit in his children’s film to not have to be sexy and play basketball at the same time.
“And, yes, we had all these other women who were like, ‘Oh, you can’t be strong and have big boobs?!’ Sure you can, but we’re talking about a cartoon bunny, not women!” Lee says.
The controversy even made its way to actor Zendaya, who voices the new, less curvy version of Lola Bunny.
“I didn’t know that was going to happen either! I definitely know we love her, but I didn’t know it was going to be as much of a focus as it was,” Zendaya tells EW. “But I understand, because she’s a lovable character. She’s very important, so I get it.” Now, it’s up to viewers to get their head on straight when it comes to “loving” a character, and “overly sexualizing an animated female rabbit.”
Lola Bunny will play basketball all the same when Space Jam: A New Legacy, hits theaters July 16.