The incredible filming of Space Jam told in the Last Dance

The documentary on Michael Jordan devoted a few minutes to the summer of 1995, during which the Bulls star made a jump to Warner Bros …

Update July 14, 2021: Movie and basketball fans have been eagerly awaiting that The Last Dance attacks Space jam. It’s done. Episode VIII of the fantastic documentary – broadcast in France on Netflix in mid-May 2020 – shows the incredible behind the scenes of the filming of this cult film of the 90’s. Not to say superhuman. We republish this article on the subject on the occasion of the programming of the film half-live, half-animated, tonight on TMC. Note that Space Jam 2: A New Era, worn by fellow basketball player LeBron James, hits theaters on July 21.

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May 13, 2020 article: A bit of context is necessary to fully understand the stakes of this summer 1995, during which the biggest star in the sports world made the big leap to the big screen. Two years earlier, MJ decided to quit the NBA after landing a third championship ring to get into baseball. After being signed to the Chicago White Sox B team, he got down to specific preparation for this very particular discipline, which calls for physical capacities very different from those of basketball. Only here, 18 months later, Jordan said goodbye to baseball and announced his return to the courts. But her body has changed. He is no longer quite the unstoppable player of 1993. Worn out, overwhelmed in the conference semi-final lost against the Orlando Magic in the spring of 1995, his Majesty is keen to regain his talent from before and intends to pass all the offseason to work like crazy, to find his physique of god of basketball and dominate the NBA again the following season.

Except that Michael jordan already had something planned on his agenda that summer: the shooting of Space jam, for Warner Bros! How to reconcile the two? Impossible is not MJ! “I told them I needed a facility to train in. Warner Bros. said, don’t worry. We’re going to build this for you. And when I got there to film, everything was ready. “, recalls the superstar facing the camera of The Last Dance.

space jam the last dance
Netflix / ESPN / Warner

The director of the feature film, Joe pytka, continues: “So we did the Jordan Dome. It was fabulous. A real pro gym, with dumbbells and everything.” Inside the studio, Warner had built a gigantic complex, to allow the boss of the NBA to train in the company of his personal coach, Tim Grover, while filming Space jam !

“I was shooting at 7 am Monday through Saturday. And when I had a two hour break, I would go practice with Tim.” The latter had thus planned a whole program to reshape the muscles of his champion for basketball after spending 15 months building him the body of a baseball player. But that’s not all. Michael jordan needed to play. To compete with other athletes, to rebuild their health. So he actually brought NBA stars to the studio, to play with him!

space jam the last dance
Netflix / ESPN / Warner

“We ended up at 7:00 pm and we invited people over to play at the Jordan Dome and do impromptu matches. Without a referee. Hard. Everyone came to the studio to face Michael, from Reggie Miller to Patrick Ewing to Chris Mullin. “, says his former teammate, BJ Armstrong.

“I don’t know how he held it. How he managed to go around all day and find the energy to play three more hours with us afterwards … We would play until 9 or 10 and then it was still a little bit. of muscle. He was a vampire without messing around! “ Reggie Miller remembers.

And in the end, several NBA players, present at the Jordan Dome, such as Charles Barkley or Shawn Bradley, ended up in Space jam ! The film was a box office hit the following year with $ 230 million in revenue. And Michael jordan, he won a new league title with the Bulls …

The trailer for the Space jam released in France in 1996:

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