From the world premiere of Air – The story of the great leap Of Ben Affleck at the South by Southwest Film & TV Festival in Austin arrive the first statements on the awaited film that tells the story of Sonny Vaccaro, the man who led the Nike to conquer the greatest athlete in the history of sports: Michael Jordan. Matt Damon, Viola Davis And Jason Bateman are the protagonists of the film that will be released in theaters from April 5 with Warner Bros. before landing on Prime Videos.
“Tonight is the most important night of my professional life”, declared the two-time Oscar-winning actor and director from the stage Affleck, making some self-deprecating references to previous projects that didn’t find great success. “This is an optimistic and hopeful film about people. So I can’t hide behind being an auteur – (as if to say) ‘you don’t need to understand my film’ – I really hope you like it”.
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Air – The story of the big jump, the cast
Ben Affleckwhich he directed Air on a script by Alex Convery, he also co-stars in the film, a biographical drama chronicling Nike’s groundbreaking creation of the Air Jordan shoe line. Matt Damon plays the Nike executive who brought the well-known basketball player, Michael Jordan, to sign his first contract on the most loved sneakers in the world, alongside him Affleck, his friend and historical collaborator, is the CEO of Nike Phil Knight, while Viola Davis, at the explicit request of the athlete, plays the role of Jordan’s mother. The film also stars Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker And Chris Messina.
Ben Affleck claims he never would have realized Air without Michael Jordan’s blessing, but that blessing came with an important request: Viola Davis. “She is my mother”, Jordan allegedly told the director. Per Davis, who shot the film after completing filming of Woman Kingthe character of Deloris was fascinating.
“Mothers are the most important figures in anyone’s life; therefore, I was very flattered and deeply moved when I was asked to play Michael’s mother Davis told THR. I know Michael Jordan, but I didn’t know that Deloris brokered this deal and, in turn, protect his son’s legacy. I wanted to know more about this woman who had the strength and courage to fight for the value of her son. Having this insight and progressive vision, standing her ground in the negotiations – which I know can be the hardest part of the job – makes Deloris an incredible woman. This made me lean towards this project”.
In an early version of the script, before Affleck met Jordan, the Deloris character was minor. But, spurred on by Jordan’s input and encouraged by his wife’s advice Jennifer Lopezthe director began to see Deloris as the key to the story and expanded her role.
Damon he defined his role “the best job I’ve ever had”. “I’ve never had so much fun – said the actor – For Ben and I – from the moment we read the script to the last cut we made in editing – it was an absolute joy.“.
Bateman he seemed stunned by the crowd’s reaction to the film’s preview: “I couldn’t believe the amount of screaming (during screening) – he said – What Ben and Matt have managed to do with this story… it’s an American business story and they’ve made a rock show out of it. They were somehow able to enhance what Michael Jordan means to all of us, which was already the pinnacle of greatness and excitement. I will never think of Michael Jordan or Air Jordans the same again because of what Ben was able to do with this movie and create that kind of feeling we all just had”.
With a rather daring creative choice, Jordan does not appear directly in the film. Affleck explained that it was an effort to avoid another actor playing such a living legend, but the director adds: “I could never have asked the public to believe that anyone else was Michael Jordan. He was out of my own interest, frankly, because I knew he was going to destroy the film. This is not a documentary. This isn’t meant to be the absolutely perfect story of who did what and said what…all the mistakes in the film are mine“.
Judging by the premiere’s audience reaction, Affleck needn’t worry about its reception: The film and its full cast received an enthusiastic ovation.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter and Variety