Zendaya didn’t expect backlash over Lola Bunny’s redesign.
The 24-year-old actress voices the beloved animated character in ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’, and director Malcolm D. Lee decided to make the Looney Tunes favourite less sexualised in the sequel to the 1996 basketball comedy.
She told EW: “I didn’t know that was going to happen either! I definitely know we love her, but I didn’t know it was going to be as much of a focus as it was.
“But I understand, because she’s a lovable character. She’s very important, so I get it.”
Asked for her reaction to the internet’s response to the redesign, Zendaya pointed out how “special” the character is to people, and noted how “grateful” she was to land the role.
She added: “She’s special to a lot of people and their childhoods and they’ve been able to grow up with her, so I get that sense of protection.
“I was like, listen, just as long as I did what the director and the producers and everybody wanted me to do, I’m just here to offer my services. [Laughs]
“No, but I felt really grateful just to have the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, filmmaker Lee pointed out the debate was over a “cartoon bunny” rather than an actual woman, and admitted he too had no idea people would be “that up in arms”.
He added: “I had no idea that people would be that up in arms about a bunny not having boobs.
“Listen, I understand people don’t want things to change, but I think we needed some evolution with her, not by objectifying her but by making her strong and still feminine.
“And, yes, we had all these other women who were like, ‘Oh, you can’t be strong and have big boobs?!’ Sure you can, but we’re talking about a cartoon bunny not women!”