This weekend new footage from Space Jam: A New Legacy dropped unannounced on Twitter, and it saw Twitter go twit-twoo over the reveal of Lola Bunny’s voice. In the new movie, Lola is played by Disney darling Zendaya, and if there is one guaranteed way of getting social media talking about a movie, then the Greatest Showman star’s involvement is it. As soon as the short video clip appeared, Zendaya’s army of fans took over the micro-blogging site to fawn over the actress and discuss some of her most iconic work, but not all of them feel that she is right as the voice of a character who has caused a few issues for the sequel.
The main sentiment among Twitter users was simple. We love Zendaya, but this just sounds like Zendaya and not Lola Bunny. When it comes to voice acting, there are some voices that are instantly recognisable and in many cases that doesn’t matter. James Earl Jones in The Lion King, Billy Connolly in Brave and Michael Caine in Cars 2 all sounded just like they always do, but the characters were new and there to be made their own. You have other cases such as Mike Myers in Shrek, where their adapt to the character. Having an already established character – and let’s face it there has been more press about Lola’s character than any other – and giving them a voice that is both distinctive and well known is a bit of a gamble. So far, it doesn’t seem to be paying off.
“I love Zendaya so much, but damn her voice doesn’t fit Lola,” said one user. Another added “Now – Zendaya is the answer to every question…. But not this one.” Someone else observed, “I hope this isn’t the final result because the mixing is def off. Also, her voice needs more personality. She always sounds like this don’t disappoint me Zendaya.” Someone else appeared to pinpoint the issue, saying, “hmm……..mmm…i love zendaya but this just sounds like zendaya talking in her normal voice.”
Only a few months ago, Lola’s character hit the headlines when her new design reveal didn’t go down too well with fans of the 1996 Space Jam movie. The new design of Lola removed many of her more curvy attributes, gave her baggier clothing and generally put less focus on the image the character had in the first film. Back in March, director Malcolm D Lee spoke to Entertainment Weekly, commenting, “This is 2021. It’s important to reflect on the authenticity of strong, capable female characters.” While this was meant to be a plus point, it brought about its own backlash with many – many women at that – questioning if that mean sexy women couldn’t be “strong and capable”. It seems that sometimes doing what you think is right, isn’t seen that way by everyone.
With the reveal of Lola’s voice now causing its own waves, it seems that even casting one of the most bankable young actresses currently in the business can’t cut a break for the live action animation sequel or its furry star.