The new movie Air is going to be a hit. It reunites Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, back together again for the film about Nike’s pursuit of Michael Jordan back in the 1980s. 

It follows iconic basketball shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro who was on a mission to lock down MJ, and we all know he did, which helped turn Michael into a billionaire and change pop culture.  Affleck directed the movie and starred in it, and it was his responsibility to get Michael on board for it.  And it wasn’t easy. Michael had some demands. 

First, the role of Michael’s mom, Deloris Jordan, was important to Michael, and he insisted on veto power over whomever the production wanted to go with for the part. 

Here’s what Affleck said at the film’s premiere at South by Southwest in Austin.  “I had a chance to sit down with Michael Jordan because I just wasn’t going to make this movie without asking him, ‘What matters to you?’ Interestingly, and tellingly, he had a few things that mattered.”

Michael knew precisely whom he wanted to play his beloved mother — Viola Davis. 

Here’s more from Affleck from Variety. 

“That’s like saying, ‘Can I play basketball on your court?’ ‘Yeah, if you get Michael Jordan.’ Viola Davis is the best actor I’ve ever seen. This is a hard business. It’s hard to know if you’re successful. It’s hard to know if you’ve accomplished something. But, honest to God, I always felt that if i was a director one day, and I had Viola Davis in a movie, that would really be something. That would mean the world to me. And it does.”

Another thing Michael insisted on was making sure Howard White, the VP of the Jordan brand, was in the movie. That led to a role for Chris Tucker because White wasn’t written into the original script. 

The movie hits theaters on April 5. 

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