Are you ready for Air?
Amazon Studios brought out Atlanta’s flyest tastemakers for a special AIR screening event with a surprise appearance from Chris Tucker who plays longtime Nike exec Howard White in the soon-to-be movie-of-the-moment.
Guests were treated to cool retro shades rocked by Ben Affleck in the film, nostalgic arcade basketball goals, complimentary cocktails, and good vibes at the exclusive afterparty that was jumpin’ like Jordan.
Check out more selects below:
From award-winning director Ben Affleck, AIR cinematizes the unbelievable game-changing partnership between a then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division which revolutionized the world of sports and contemporary culture with the Air Jordan brand.
This moving story follows the career-defining gamble of an unconventional team with everything on the line, the uncompromising vision of a mother who knows the worth of her son’s immense talent, and the basketball phenom who would become the greatest of all time.
Matt Damon plays maverick Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro and Affleck plays Nike co-founder Phil Knight with Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan, Julius Tennon as James Jordan, Jason Bateman as Rob Strasser, Chris Messina as David Falk, Marlon Wayans as George Raveling, and Matthew Maher as Peter Moore.
During an interview at SXSW where the film premiered, Affleck detailed getting the blessing of Air Jordan himself, a massive feat considering how selective Jordan is about who and what he associates himself with.
“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,” said Affleck.
“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.
It wasn’t until recently that Davis was made aware that Jordan specifically requested her for the film.
The Oscar-winner, 57, told PEOPLE that she was “flattered” after learning for the first time earlier that night that Michael Jordan personally selected her to play his mother, Deloris Jordan, in the film.
“I’m just hearing about it now,” said Davis as she walked the red carpet with husband and co-star Julius Tennon. “So yeah, so it blew my mind. I’m glad I didn’t know about it before.”
Tennon, 69, added: “It’s pretty awesome that he wanted her to play his mom.”
AIR takes flight into theaters April 5.