Sonequa Martin-Green Defends 'Space Jam 2' After Charles Barkley's Critical Comments (Exclusive)

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When the long-awaited Space Jam 2 hits theaters in 2021, it will have been almost 25 years after the release of the beloved original, and star Sonequa Martin-Green is excited for fans to see how the film updated and modernized the concept for a whole new generation of fans.

ET's Deidre Behar sat down with the Star Trek: Discovery star -- along with A Million Little ThingsRomany Malco -- while promoting their upcoming Christmas rom-com Holiday Rush -- and the actress dished on her role in the hotly-anticipated Space Jam sequel.

The actress had particular praise for her co-star -- and the film's producer -- LeBron James, who she said was "so much fun" to work with.

"I have such respect for him," she shared. "As we all know, he's quite an inspiring guy and he's all about that championship living. So it was really such a blessing to be close to that."

"I am really excited for [fans] to see how it's been modernized, because I was really, really touched by that," she continued, praising the film's efforts to revitalize the property, which blends beloved Looney Tunes characters and NBA stars. "They did in the most brilliant way. I'm very excited."

"It'll be something that can be a bridge for the next generation to enjoy," Martin-Green added.

While she's looking forward to it, the film already has some detractors, including NBA legend Charles Barkley, who played a key role in the original.

One two separate occasions, ET has spoken with Barkley about the project, and he's been more than upfront about not wanting it to happen. "Space Jam 1 was a classic," Barkley told ET last year. "I don’t like when people try to imitate something that was already good." When asked in June if his opinion has changed, Barkley said simply, "Not at all."

However, Martin-Green says she thinks the movie will win over its critiques when people get a chance to actually see it.

"I will just say, having done it, I think that everyone is going to love it," Martin-Green said, diplomatically, before laughingly adding, "Charles, I love you too, don't come for me!"

Meanwhile, a TV sequel to the Showtime dramedy Weeds -- on which Malco starred for three seasons -- is reportedly in the works at Starz. 

While Mary-Louise Parker is set to reprise her starring role, Malco doesn't think he'll be coming back for the project, specifically because of his rewarding work onA Million Little Things.

"The stories that we get to tell in relation to what it's like to deal with depression and surviving cancer, the lives, the mail that we get from fans in regards to what this show is doing for them -- I honestly, I always want to be open-minded, but I honestly cannot imagine this show going away anytime soon," Malco shared, "and I could not imagine walking away from this beautiful cast that I'm a part of right now."

As for a possible cameo, however, Malco admitted, "You know what? Anything is possible."

Before fans get a chance to see either of their future projects, Martin-Green and Malco will soon be sharing the screen in their upcoming Christmas comedy, Holiday Rush.

In the Netflix original film, Malco stars as 'Rush' Williams, a successful DJ who ends up getting laid off, along with his producers Roxy Richardson (Martin Green), when their station ends up changing formats. 

Rush, a widower with four precious children, has to move his family back in to their old home and tighten their belts after living in luxury for years, right before the Christmas season. It's a heartwarming tale of anti-consumerism and the holiday spirit.

For Malco, it seems this story hit somewhat close to home.

"I was a rapper, I was on Virgin Records and I was the number one rap song in the country for a minute," Malco said, referring to his time as a member of the hip-hop group, College Boyz, and their hit 1992 single, "Victim of the Ghetto."

"There was a point where I was my label's priority and I was doing my dream job -- my dream was to always to be a rapper and it happened. I was touring all over the country," Malco recalled. "And then one day, I was no longer the priority on that record label. Times had changed. Our deal had changed."

"Initially, I tried not to deal with it… I kept convincing myself I would somehow rework it and it would be fine but the way I actually ended up having to deal with it was coming to terms with the fact that it had actually happened, and making it clear to myself that I was not just my career," he added. "That gave me license to reinvent [myself]."

Malco then turned his focus to acting and forged a new, successful career for himself as a comic and a performer, instead of getting bogged down with the emotional weight of being a former rapper. He took the first gig he could get, which was working catering on a movie set, and that is how he made the in-roads into his acting future.

"I saw a lot of my friends who had been in similar situations be too prideful to take a job, so that financial stress had transferred to their families," Malco recalled. "I couldn't be that person, so I was like, 'I'll get a job right away.' You gotta do what you gotta do."

Holiday Rush premieres on Netflix on Nov. 28.


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