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INTERVIEW: Animation director Tony Cervone on the SPACE JAM gag that got him yelled at by the producers

On the heels of the upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. is celebrating the original Space Jam by publish the classic on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital just in time for its 25 th commemoration. Watching such a quirky theory as Michael Jordan playing basketball with the Looney Tunes against evil foreigners is something, but you can only imagine what it must have been like to work on the cinema like Tony Cervone, the animation lead for Space Jam, did.

The Beat had the chance to chat with Cervone about its own experience on Space Jam and why, despite some of certain difficulties in spawning the movie, it still has a fond place in his heart.

Taimur Dar: I don’t make anyone could have foresaw the genuine love and tendernes for a film like Space Jam 25 years later. From reading the oral history of the movie, I know despite the unbelievably close-fisted and difficult production schedule there was still a sense of camaraderie. Looking back, what was your stance about working on the movie and has it changed or advanced since then?

Tony Cervone: On a personal level, I built great abide friendships on that movie. Even though, yes, it was a very tight schedule and there were a lot overcomes to overcome, we is held as a group very well and remained friends and remained close for 25 years. I fulfilled my wife[ “workin on” the movie ]. Space Jam has been an active part of all our lives for 25 years. On a personal note, there’s never certainly been anything like it before or since.

And 25 years is a long time and the festivity of Space Jam has changed and derived over the years too. I don’t know if it was always as cherished as it is now. I think that’s because it hit a really big generation at a perfect occasion. People have adopted it and grown up with it and still adoration it, and that’s great.

Dar: Space Jam boasted the first appearance of Lola Bunny and it’s a testament to the film that she’s now become a regular fixture of Looney Tunes. In hindsight, Lola Bunny is definitely a product of the times but I’m mesmerized to see how she’s advanced and been reinvented into this really eccentric reputation voiced by Kristen Wiig for The Looney Tunes Show, which you actually worked on.

Cervone: It’s interesting. She does have a long history. She’s been here for 25 years now. And yes, she obviously has developed into a different reputation and then kind of back into an original Lola Bunny but maybe a little bit more adapted to this day and age too. But I did desire the eccentric Kristen Wiig Lola. I thought it was very funny and that was always kind of a joy.

Dar: It seems that’s the name of the game for a lot of parody characters. If you look at Bugs Bunny in the “Elmer’s Pet Rabbit” animation, for example, he is completely different from the Bugs we know today. Is it fair to compare the evolution of Bugs to Lola?

Cervone: Here’s the thing about the Looney Tunes personas that is different from other parody people. It’s that in their heyday they were made by six different chairmen “whos been” six completely different styles of caricatures. They did their own versions of Bugs Bunny and could care less about what other people were doing. So yeah, the classic Bugs is a completely different Bugs than the[ Chuck] Jones Bugs, and the[ Robert] McKimson Bugs is different, and the[ Friz] Freleng Bugs is different. Audiences over the years just got used to the fact that Bugs could be a number of different things.

And that’s why I considered that Space Jam Bugs is various kinds of a unique Bugs but it didn’t seem to upset anyone. The Looney Tunes Show version of Bugs, the sitcom edition of Bugs, is very different from other versions of Bugs. The Bugs that’s on HBO Max is kind of a return to a more classic parentage but likewise very modern and relevant and reflective of the people who make it right now. They’re particularly durable characters.

Dar: It’s pretty obvious you know your animation and Looney Tunes biography which segues nicely into my next question. As a kid, assuring all those Looney Tunes people in the field blew my thinker. It seems like you guys did an incredible deep dive result the most obscure personas. What was the challenge in acquire the characters to replenish the field?

Cervone: You’re 100% chasten. That was really the animation crew “il just go”, “Remember this courage? Remember that persona? We love this guy! Remember that one from that animation? ”[ We were] time burrowing them up out of our memories and putting them into that field. It was a lot of recreation. We didn’t think of it as an Easter Egg. We were just doing it to satisfy ourselves for the enjoyable of it.

Tony CervoneDar: I guess it’s been a long while since I last show Space Jam because I didn’t realize until I recently rewatched it that Ivan Reitman was a producer. From what I predict, he was really instrumental in the film and stepped up during the production. I know Reitman had worked in animation before with the Heavy Metal film, so what was the experience working with him on Space Jam?

Cervone: Ivan knew a good deal about animation to begin with and was a fan of the medium. It was great working with him. He actually helped us shape the movie and find where the jokes were. I’ve always been an Ivan Reitman fan, so it was an honor to work alongside him and learn lessons from him. That was another great appearance of making this movie.

Dar: What I love about Looney Tunes and caricatures in general is laughing at laughs even though they are you don’t understand them as a kid and then years later when you’re older eventually getting the joke. It’s perfectly depicted in Space Jam with that amusing Pulp Fiction bit with Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam, so I have to know how that came about.

Cervone: Again, it just came out of the living group where we were all just trying to determine each other laugh and has come forward with some entertaining material. I repute I came up with the Pulp Fiction gag and it roughly wasn’t in the movie. That 10 seconds of “Misirlou” by Dick Dale was extremely expensive. I was screeched at by the producers of the movie for that gag because it penalty a ton of money. But it is a memorable gag. It got a big laugh and beings still remember it. You only delivered it up so it was worth every cent. It was a very costly joke.

Tony CervoneDar: Since Space Jam, you’ve been working in various capabilities for a number of different Warner Bros. Animation projects like the inspired cycle for the most recent” The Satanist’s Apprentice” chapter of DC’s Mythology of Tomorrow.

Cervone: That was super entertaining. That get more and more ambitious the longer we were doing it. That actually took a while to determine that. Probably more than six months to form that short inspired cycle. I really loved working with everyone on that show. Everyone is so great and encouraging. That was just nothing but pure fun, and fun from a devotee attitude as well from beginning to end. I was very pleased with the style that came out.

Dar: I don’t suppose you have any future Warner Bros. Animation projects you can tease or perhaps can’t due to NDAs?

Cervone: Well, we are working on something that hasn’t been announced more but is a return to the universe we created in Scoob !.

Dar: I will leave it at that then!

Space Jam is available now on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital.

The post INTERVIEW: Animation chairman Tony Cervone on the SPACE JAM gag that got him howled at by the producers sounded first on The Beat.

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