Space Jam proved an immediate smash, and 20 years later it remains the highest-grossing basketball movie of all time. And while everyone knows Michael Jordan saved the day, that went way beyond helping Bugs Bunny vanquish a mob of intergalactic aliens: He was the only guy who could get Bill Murray to the set.
“Murray was in the script from the beginning,” director Joe Pytka told UPROXX, “but even after we started shooting, Michael personally had to call him over and over to get him to be in the movie.” Thankfully, Jordan’s string-pulling paid off. Murray stole every scene he was in.
The genesis of Space Jam was a watershed conversation in which Jordan asked agent David Falk why he had turned down the myriad movie roles he had been offered over the years, mainly cameos. Falk said there was only one type of movie he would consider green-lighting.
“What’s that?,” Jordan joked. “The first black James Bond?”
Falk responded that the only role he should play — and probably could play — was Michael Jordan.
“If you think about it, an actor plays a different role every six months,” Falk told UPROXX. “Sometimes they’re the hero, sometimes they’re the villain. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s comedic. Unless you know them personally, you don’t really know what they’re like behind the scenes.