Ben Affleck’s new film “Air” is premiering at SXSW. The film has garnered rave reviews and is an important one for Affleck, where not only he stars and directs but marks the first title made by his new production company, Artists Equity. In a new interview, Affleck spoke about his relationship with Michael Jordan and why his approval was so important to make the film. He also shared Jordan’s one request for the film, which was the fact that it had to star Viola Davis in this key role.
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In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Affleck talked about “Air” and why he wanted to make the film. He also talked about his relationship with Michael Jordan. “Jordan is — he’s a hero to me,” said Affleck. “And I know how important and meaningful a figure he is, in particular in the African American community. If you’re going to fuck around with talking about Michael Jordan, do it respectfully.”
Affleck called Jordan and the two met up at a golf course, where they extensively discussed the project. “This was me saying, ‘Mike, I’m not going to make the movie if you’re not cool with something about it. I just won’t do it. I want to know what’s important to you,’” said Affleck. He said that when asking about his memories of Nike, Jordan’s mother came up a lot, and she wasn’t a character that was featured in the film, which made Affleck reanalize what the film was about. “That’s when I understood what the movie was. Talking to him about his mom was incredibly moving, and I realized, ‘Oh, this isn’t about Nike,’” said Affleck. The two then talked about who could play Jordan’s mom and Jordan’s answer was clear: Viola Davis. “He was dead serious. ‘Viola Davis, that’s my mom,’” said Affleck.
Affleck has described the experience of making “Air” as something unique and a “joyful professional experience.” “There is a certain amount of magic, and maybe it’s Michael Jordan, you know. My whole life, I thought, as a director, if I could have Viola Davis in my movie, then I really will have made it,” he said to USA Today.
“Air” premieres this April 5th, in theaters.