1996’s SPACE JAMnot only had the distinction of being Warner Bros. Feature Animation‘s first ever film, but went on to become the highest-ever -grossing Basketball film and won several awards including ANNIEs and GRAMMYs, among others. To say it was a cultural phenomenon is by no means an exaggeration. 25 years later comes Malcolm D. Lee‘s SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, coming to audiences with a new message, a new Cast, Lebron James, and of course some of the most beloved Warner Bros. characters of all time!
We had the pleasure of chatting with Scarborough’s very own Eric Bauza, a Voice Actor, Animator and also Co-Founder of Retrokid, a nostalgia-based apparel brand which right now has several exclusive and licensed Space Jam-inspired pieces. We ask him about what Space Jam means to him and voice multiple characters in the Film including Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn and Marvin the Martian.
What does the legacy of SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY mean to you?
Eric: “Being a part of SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY is so important to me. I could be here all day doing all the press in the world and still not be able to describe how thrilled I am that I get to be a part of this and that my son gets to watch it with me! It is definitely a laundry list of characters that everyone knows so well, so the pressure is on. Not just to win a cyberspace Basketball game, but to make sure that these characters live on the way that we all remember them.”.
We all know Nike‘s message of “Just Do It”, but the Film has a unique message to us to “Just Do You”. What do you hope the audience will take away from the Film?
Eric: “The nugget of the Film is that it has such a family aspect to it that I think will be the biggest surprise. It’s not just this big fireworks show. It really has heart and meaning behind it. I think it does it well. I found myself a little choked-up watching the first screening. I was watching of course, to make sure that I did my job well, but I was really pleasantly surprised with how it all wrapped-up in the end. I hope the audience experiences that.”.
You were a Scarborough boy growing-up watching Mr. Dressup and drawing sketches. Walk us through how you got to fulfill your dream today being a part of Space Jam and also co-owning Retrokid?
Eric: “It’s a crazy journey that did start in Canada and will always be a part of me. I live here in Los Angeles now, but in any given year I’m back at least three to four times. Being part of Canada, there’s just something in the water that keeps us humble, but funny at the same time. Maybe it’s those long winters. I haven’t forgotten how to shovel a driveway! But it really was just being in a country that is very multi-cultural. And I think that’s the one big thing, that you really do feel welcome in Canada. I feel we’re in this secret club not only being from Toronto, but being from Scarborough. There’s something about being from that town. Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, John Candy – there’s something in the water in Scarborough that makes us a little Schizophrenic. Being able to capitalize on that is something.”.
“Retrokid is really a love letter to Toronto. It is a nostalgic apparel brand, but it ties into this too. I grew-up watching this Movie in Scarborough, seeing the ads at Kennedy Station. To now fast-forward 25 years later and know that I got to be a part of this, there’s no better way to celebrate than producing this line.”.
See Video from our Chat:
Warner Bros. Canada release SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY in theatres on Premium Video-on-Demand Friday, July 16, 2021.
Don’t forget, we’re giving away a SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY Prize Pack to one lucky winner, which includes a pass for two to see the Movie!