Gabriel Iglesias on Speedy Gonzales, Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy is now in theaters and on HBO Max, and it features a large roster of popular icons including Bugs Bunny, Superman, Wonder Woman, King Kong, and many more. At the center of it all is NBA star LeBron James, who needs to win the ultimate game of basketball against Al G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) in order to save the day. The Looney Tunes characters are out in full force, and joining them is Speedy Gonzales, voiced by Gabriel Iglesias. Nerd Reactor had the chance to chat with the actor and comedian about the film and the challenges of playing the talking mouse.

Speedy Gonzales is a well-known Looney Tunes character, and Iglesias discusses the rarity of the Funko Pops! figure.

“Trying to get a Speedy Gonzales Funko is super rare,” Iglesias said. “Yeah, they made one. And it’s already discontinued. So you gotta find it. Last I checked, it was gone for quite a bit. It’s pretty high-priced. It’s one of those hard-to-find ones. They did not make one for the Space Jam film.

With Speedy Gonzales appearing in Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. had Iglesias in mind for the part. The actor recounts the events that led to his part in the film.

“I got a phone call,” Iglesias recalled. “They said, ‘Hey, they’re making a new Space Jam. They want to know if you want to be part of it. And would you like to play Speedy Gonzales?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, and yeah.’ I had nothing but time in 2020. So I was like, ‘Yes, whenever they want. I work Saturdays, too! Whatever they need.’ Because of the pandemic, there was no going into the studios. Everything had to be done from home. So I did the movie basically from my couch. I was on a Zoom call with the director and the producer. And basically, they were asking a lot of questions.”

Speedy Gonzales was a character that was in the hot seat for being included in Space Jam: A New Legacy. Iglesias defended the character on social media.

“There was already a lot of back and forth with Warner Brothers and me because cancel culture tried to take out Speedy Gonzales,” he said. “And I jumped in there on Twitter. It went back and forth. And Warner Brothers was like, ‘Thank you for standing up for the character. We appreciate you defending him. Any questions you have, or if there’s anything that feels weird with the lines or the scenes, please let us know. We want to make sure that he’s portrayed in the best possible way.’ And so they were very much receptive and open to hearing what I had to say.”

Speedy Gonzales is known to have an accent, and Iglesias was adamant about bringing Speedy’s voice into the film.

“So then when the time came to voice Speedy Gonzales, the director asked me if I wanted to change the voice,” Iglesias continued. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t know to what.’ And they said, ‘Well, maybe your regular speaking voice. Make it more modern.’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t want people to think of me. I want people to think of Speedy Gonzales.’ And then the question was, ‘Well, do you think Speedy Gonzales is a little too stereotypical?’ And I said, ‘You do not know my family. Trust me, you’re good. He’s okay.’ And then the question was, ‘Can you do Speedy Gonzales?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, yeah, that’s what I do for a living. I do voices.’ And then the next thing, three to one and off to the races.”

Watch the full video interview below:

About Space Jam: A New Legacy

Welcome to the Jam! NBA champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny with the animated/live-action event “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” from director Malcolm D. Lee and an innovative filmmaking team including Ryan Coogler and Maverick Carter. This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.

James stars alongside Oscar nominee Don Cheadle (the “Avengers” films, “Hotel Rwanda”), Khris Davis (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” TV’s “Atlanta”), Sonequa Martin-Green (TV’s “The Walking Dead,” “Star Trek: Discovery”), newcomer Cedric Joe, Jeff Bergman (“Looney Tunes Cartoons”) and Eric Bauza (“Looney Tunes Cartoons”).

Lee (“Girls Trip,” “Night School”) directs from a screenplay by Juel Taylor & Tony Rettenmaier & Keenan Coogler & Terence Nance. The film’s producers are Ryan Coogler, LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Duncan Henderson, and the executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Allison Abbate, Jesse Ehrman, Jamal Henderson, Spencer Beighley, Justin Lin, Terence Nance and Ivan Reitman.

Space Jam: A New Legacy will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. It will be released in theaters nationwide on July 16, 2021 and will be available in the U.S. on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release.

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