Jordan, 'waskally wabbit' team up for animated film

NEW YORK (AP) Ehhhh ... what's up, Michael?

For Michael Jordan, a starring role in a feature film is what's up.

Jordan, the marketing marvel and sometime player for the Chicago Bulls, will team up with Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters in a new Warner Bros. movie called ''Space Jam.''

The movie, scheduled for release in November 1996, is the first for Jordan, who will play who else? himself.

''My kids wanted me to do it,'' he said. ''It'll give me the opportunity to play myself. If I can't play myself, I can't play no one else.''

Jordan, who has appeared with the Looney Tunes in commercials for fast food and athletic shoes, doesn't worry about being upstaged by a smart-mouthed rabbit.

''I don't mind playing second fiddle to him at all,'' Jordan said, ''or fourth or fifth fiddle.''

The movie's plot calls for Jordan to help the Looney Tunes foil a kidnap plot by a band of outer-space creatures. Other as-yet-unannounced entertainment and sports celebrities are to appear in the film, its producers said.

Jordan's first film acting role will be a challenge because of the live action-animated format, said producer Ivan Reitman, whose credits include ''Ghostbusters,'' ''Kindergarten Cop,'' ''Twins'' and ''National Lampoon's Animal House.''

''Michael has picked a relatively difficult film,'' Reitman said. ''One of the hardest things to do is act with cartoon characters that aren't there. It will take an enormous amount of patience.''

To make things easier, live actors will act as stand-ins for Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang during filming. Jordan's part in the production will begin next month and is expected to conclude before the start of the Bulls' training camp in October.

Jordan returned to the NBA in March after quitting the game in October 1993 and embarking on a less-than-successful career as a minor league baseball player. He rejoined the Bulls for the last 17 games of the regular season, boosting the league's television ratings, but Chicago was ousted from the playoffs by the Orlando Magic in the second round.

By testing the waters as a movie actor, Jordan follows in the footsteps of Orlando Magic star Shaquille O'Neal, who already has one film role to his credit and has two more in the works. Jordan, however, isn't entirely convinced a career as a movie star is for him.

''I look at it as a learning experience,'' Jordan said. ''After this first experience, I'll know where I can go from here.''

David Falk, Jordan's agent and the movie's co-executive producer, said his client had been offered a number of film opportunities in the last four or five years but was waiting for the right deal to come along.

''The issue was, Michael should have his own movie and it should center around him,'' said Ken Ross, co-executive producer with Falk. ''He shouldn't be in someone else's movie.''

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