Ben Affleck Reveals Michael Jordan’s One Request To Green Light ‘Air’ Was Viola Davis Playing His Mother

    Viola Davis Source: Christopher Polk / Getty


    During SXSW, Ben Affleck revealed his upcoming movie AIR got the blessing of Michael Jordan but only if the legendary Viola Davis played his mother.

    Last weekend Austin, Texas was packed with people from all over the world in every lane of entertainment for the annual South By Southwest festival.

    During the fest, the cast of the film AIR including Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, and Matt Damon premiered it for a select group. Affleck also revealed how the film that details Michael Jordan’s relationship with Nike came together and detailed getting the blessing of Air Jordan himself, a massive feat considering how selective Jordan is about who and what he associates with.

    According to Variety, MJ had very few demands for Affleck but one of them involved him securing the Michael Jordan of acting, EGOT winner Viola Davis.

    “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.”

    “One of them was that Howard White needed to be in the movie,” Affleck revealed, referring to the vice president of the Jordan brand. Which finally gave Affleck his opportunity to cast and work with Chris Tucker.

    “I got the script and then had the chance again to talk to Michael. Michael Jordan, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the most intimidating, impressive men you’ll ever see in your life,” Affleck said. “He told me about his father. And then he talked about his mother. It was the first time I saw this look cross his face. It was a look of reverence, awe, love, gratitude, and innocence. He said, ‘None of this would have ever happened without my mother.’ I said, ‘Who would you like to play your mom?’ He said, ‘Well, it has to be Viola Davis.”

    “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,” Affleck continued. “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.”

    “This is the best night of my professional life, and I want to welcome the best actor in the world,” he ended, introducing Viola Davis before the audience previewed AIR.

    The first reviews of AIR have started rolling in and it seems the film will most certainly be a hit. AIR will be Amazon’s first movie to premiere in theaters only without releasing it on Amazon Prime simultaneously, it hits theaters on April 5th.

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