Ben Affleck Reveals Michael Jordan Had a Very Important Demand Before He Started Filming "Air"
Actor and director Ben Affleck has premiered his latest film Air at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival in Austin, Texas, and revealed the demands that basketball legend Michael Jordan made before agreeing to sign on for the project. Air is Affleck's directorial debut, and it tells the story of Sonny Vaccaro, a Nike salesman, who signed then-basketball rookie Michael Jordan to a deal that changed the world of sports and contemporary culture. Affleck explained during the film's premiere that he was determined to get Jordan's input on the project, saying "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."
As per Variety, Ben said that Michael Jordan played a pivotal role in getting the movie Air off the ground. Affleck had a chance to sit down with Jordan before making the movie and asked him what mattered to him. Jordan had a few demands, one of which was that Howard White needed to be in the movie. Affleck realized he had the opportunity to cast Chris Tucker for the role, someone he had wanted to work with for a long time.
When it came down to the script, Affleck spoke with Jordan again about the major influences in his life. Jordan talked about his father and then his mother, which was the first time Affleck saw a look of reverence, awe, love, gratitude and innocence cross his face. Jordan said, "None of this would have ever happened without my mother." Affleck asked Jordan who he would like to play his mother, and he said it had to be Viola Davis.
Affleck said that this request was akin to asking someone if he could play basketball with them, and them replying with, "Yeah, if you get Michael Jordan." Hiring Davis was intimidating for Ben because he believes that she is the best actor he has ever seen. "This is a hard business. It’s hard to know if you’re successful," he explained. "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.” Davis plays Michael Jordan's mother in Air. The film stars Affleck, Davis, Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker, and Chris Messina.
Davis has received a lot of critical acclaim for her work in films like Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Widows, and The Help. In Air, she plays Jordan's mother Deloris, and her performance is already generating a lot of buzz. One of the most significant takeaways from Air is the importance of representation in filmmaking. Jordan's input was critical to the success of the project, and his being involved in the film from the beginning was crucial to ensuring that all the characters were written and enacted with sincerity and realism.
Davis, on her part, has been an outspoken advocate for diversity and representation in Hollywood, and her success is a testament to the fact that audiences are hungry for stories that reflect the diversity of the world we live in.
The film industry has been criticized for its lack of diversity, and there have been calls for change from within the industry and from audiences alike. It's heartening to see that films like Air are taking steps to address these issues.