The Creative Process Behind Space Jam

It was January of 1996, and the world was changing. Inspired by the OJ Simpson trial, millions were using the race card to great effect. Microsoft had just released Windows 95, and households around the globe were astounded by the operating system’s ability to read floppy disks and get viruses. And in Hollywood, two mid-level movie executives were up to their knees in trouble and cocaine.
*
Chet Studebaker’s feet pounded the plush carpets of Warner Brothers’ back offices in Burbank, California. His hair was ruffled and his eyes were bloodshot. It had been a long Friday. He finally reached the office of his friend and fellow executive, Brick Brackman. He didn’t have time to knock. Bursting through the door, Chet found Brick staring in wide-eyed silence at the oak siding of his desk. Brick’s bold mustache was sprinkled with a fine white powder.

“The shit’s really hit the fan this time,” said Chet. “I just got word from the boss that we’re supposed to have a hot new idea for a family movie ready in twenty minutes.”

“Well, I have something that can get the creative juices flowing,” said Brick mischievously. He opened a drawer and began to take out a plastic bag.

“No, Brick, no. I’ve been trying to lay off the nose candy. We don’t need it to come up with a good idea.”

“Alright, alright,” said Brick, reluctantly closing the drawer. “Ideas…ideas…why can’t we make another Karate Kid movie?”

“No, Ralph Macchio’s actually in his mid-40’s now. That well has dried up. Plus, the boss said he wants something new, something different…”

The two sat there in silence, brows furrowed with concentration as the clock on the wall ticked oppressively. Brick coughed.

“So,” said Chet, “how much coke do you have?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” said Brick, dumping a healthy pile onto his desk and arranging neat lines. They each took 3 quick snorts and set about their work.

“Whew, this is some strong blow, eh?” said Chet. “Am I supposed to be shivering like this? Are my hands supposed to be turning into trombones?”

“This is my quality stuff, man. I laced it with Adderall,” said Brick. “So follow me on this one. What do kids like these days?”

“Pogs.”

“Right! And what do they have on Pogs?”

“…Looney Tunes?” Chet guessed.

“Correct! So what if we, like, made a movie with Looney Tunes in it?”

“Okay, but we need something else. We need someone that the average white kid in America can relate to.”

“Dennis Rodman!” said Brick.

“Perfect! But what if Rodman’s not available?”

“I guess we could try Michael Jordan or something…”

“Okay, so let’s see…Michael Jordan…Looney Tunes…I got it. Run with me on this one. Some aliens try to kidnap the Looney Tunes to bring them back to their alien amusement park, right?”

“Sounds good so far.”

“But they have to play a game of basketball first.”

“Makes sense.”

“So the aliens steal the basketball skills of players like Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing…”

“Charles Barkley is the finest actor of this or any generation.”

“…and then the Looney Tunes ask MJ to help them win the basketball game. They play the game, hilarity ensues, credits roll.”

“Oh man, we’re gonna get so many Oscars for this. But we need two more things. First, we have to get an actor that every 5-year-old kid knows.”

“Bill Murray.”

“And two, we need some sex appeal. That’s the only way movies sell these days. You think we can get Sharon Stone?”

“No, I have a better idea. What about, like, a sexy female version of Bugs Bunny? That would be great for a kids’ movie.”

“Do people really want to see sexy anthropomorphized animals though?”

“Trust me, when internet porn becomes popular, that’s all people will want to see.”

“I can’t even imagine how you know that. Last but not least, music. We should get a kid-friendly musician, someone who really loves kids.”

“R. Kelly seems to have a great relationship with young people, especially ones under 18.”

“I think we’ve done it! And how ‘bout this for a title: Michael Jordan and the Greatest Basketball Game Ever Cartoon’d: The Revenge of Bugs Bunny.”

“Nah, it wouldn’t fit on a Pog or a floppy disk. What if we called it Space Jam?”

“No, that sucks. Sounds like a breakfast spread.”

“Well, I’m sure we’ll think of something better before the movie gets released.”

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