Award-winning director Ben Affleck has brought to life the fascinating story behind Michael Jordan’s iconic partnership with Nike in his latest film, “AIR.”
The movie, which opens in cinemas on April 19, follows the career-defining gamble of a then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division, which would go on to revolutionize the world of sports and contemporary culture with the Air Jordan brand.
While Jordan is undoubtedly a central figure in the film, it is not his story but rather the story of the unconventional team and the uncompromising vision of a mother who knows the worth of her son’s immense talent. Jordan’s presence and influence can be felt throughout the movie, without ever seeing his face.
According to Affleck, they didn’t want to shatter the audience’s illusion of him but rather let them invoke their own memories and experiences of what Michael Jordan means.
“I really believe that human excellence is a beautiful thing,” says Affleck. “The concept of genius is one of the things that’s most fascinating to me, and Michael Jordan is nothing if not a genius.”
“But there is no story without him,” explains Affleck. “I would not have made this movie without first reaching out to him. And I’m grateful to Michael for sharing what was important to him. His presence and influence are felt throughout the film, though we don’t see his face. Because he is such an icon—an undisputedly important and meaningful figure, someone everyone holds in such high esteem—we didn’t want to shatter the illusion, but rather let the audience invoke their own memories and experiences of what Michael Jordan means.”
[Watch the official trailer of “AIR” here: https://youtu.be/7OKPknt7EtU]
The film boasts an excellent cast, including Academy Award®-winning actress Viola Davis, who plays Jordan’s mother, Deloris.
The decision to cast Davis was one of Jordan’s biggest notes during his meeting with Affleck. The sports legend was adamant about honoring the contributions of people, and he felt that Davis was the perfect fit for the role. Talking about his meeting with Jordan, Affleck revealed that the basketball star is a “genius casting director.”
“It turns out that Michael is a genius casting director as well,” Affleck laughs. Talking more about his meeting with the sports legend, the director shares, “He was gracious enough to sit down with me, and he had a couple of things that were important to him. Michael wanted to honor the contributions that people made, and he was quite adamant that Viola play his mother. I guess that’s very in keeping with Michael Jordan—to set the bar as absolutely high as possible and then expect to reach it.”
Producer Jon Weinbach said that Affleck did a great job directing and that he was the best person for the job. Weinbach credited Affleck’s passion for sports, his understanding of modern American history, and his ability to attract an unbelievable cast as key factors that made the film possible.
“Ben Affleck is whip-smart and a fantastic director,” said Weinbach, whose previous producing credits include “The Last Dance.”
“This story clearly connected with him on multiple levels: as a legit sports fan, as a child of the ’80s, and as an astute interpreter of modern American history in films like ‘Argo.’ He also had the gravitas to elevate this story, attract an unbelievable cast, bring in some of the best professionals in the industry, and—perhaps most importantly—approach Michael Jordan and get his thoughts on it. None of that was possible without Ben at the helm, and it was wildly exciting to see him make it all happen,” he added.
In the film, Affleck will co-star with Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Marlon Wayans, and Chris Tucker in a compelling narrative that chronicles the risky decision of a non-traditional team, the resolute ambition of a mother who recognizes her son’s exceptional abilities, and the basketball legend who eventually becomes the greatest of all time.
“AIR” was directed by Affleck and written by Alex Convery. It was produced by a team including Peter Guber, Jason Michael Berman, David Ellison, Jeff Robinov, Madison Ainley, Matt Damon, and also him.
“AIR” promises to be a moving story that celebrates human excellence, and with Affleck at the helm, it is sure to be an entertaining and thought-provoking film. The ticketing site for “AIR” is already live at www.airmovie.com.ph, so don’t forget to mark your calendars for April 19th to catch this exciting new movie.