Latest Hollywood Celebrity & Entertainment News
'Air' is becoming one of the most talked-about movies of 2023 so far. Here's all the updates on Ben Affleck's latest directorial feature.
Ben Affleck‘s new movie is drawing major buzz even before its release. The Oscar winner returned to the director’s chair for the first time in over six years for the new biographical film Air, about Nike signing Michael Jordan to create the iconic Air Jordan shoeline. The film, which is set in the 1980s, premiered at SXSW on March 18 to rave reviews. Ahead of the movie’s theatrical release, HollywoodLife has rounded up everything you need to know about Air, including the release date, the cast, and much more.
Air will be released in theaters on April 5 by Amazon Studios. The film will NOT be available to stream on Prime Video upon its theatrical debut. Air is the first Amazon film to come out in theaters and not simultaneously premiere on Prime Video since the 2019 comedy-drama Late Night.
The trailer for Air was released on February 9. Three days later, the trailer aired during the 2023 Super Bowl. The footage features Nike CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) questioning Sonny Vaccaro‘s idea to go all in on Michael Jordan to create a shoeline. “I believe in your son. I believe he’s the future, and his story is going to make us want to fly. But a shoe is just a shoe,” Sonny says to Michael Jordan’s mom, Deloris Jordan. Sonny comes up with the name Air Jordan, which Phil isn’t a fan of at first.
Ben Affleck didn’t just direct Air; he also stars in the film as Nike CEO Phil Knight. Matt Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro, who helped sign Michael to the athlete’s first sneaker deal. Ben and Matt are longtime friends and collaborators. They previously worked together on 1997’s Good Will Hunting and 2021’s The Last Duel. They are both producers on Air, as well.
Viola Davis plays Michael Jordan’s mother in Air. Viola’s husband, Julius Tennon, plays MJ’s father, James R. Jordan Sr. Michael Jordan is not portrayed in the film at all.
Air also stars Jason Bateman as Nike executive Rob Strasser, Marlon Wayans as NBA all-star George Raveling, Chris Messina as sports agent David Falk, Chris Tucker as Nike field representative Howard White, Matthew Maher as Nike creative director Peter Moore, Jessica Green as Sonny’s secretary Katrina Sainz, and Gustaf Skarsgard and Barbara Sukowa as Adidas figureheads Horst Dassler and Kathy Dassler.
Ben Affleck is the director of Air, his first directorial feature since 2016’s Live by The Night. He directed the 2012 thriller Argo, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Ben is also a producer on Air with Matt Damon, David Ellison, Jesse Sisgold, Jon Weinbach, Peter Guber, and others. Alex Convery wrote the script for Air. Robert Richardson did the cinematography and William Goldenberg did the editing. Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports, Artists Equity, and Mandalay Pictures are the production companies behind Air.
Related: ‘No Hard Feelings’: The New Trailer, Release Date & More You Need To Know About JLaw’s New Comedy
The official synopsis for AIR reads: “From award-winning director Ben Affleck, AIR reveals 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.”
Ben Affleck talked about creating Air in a March 2023 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He said he met with Michael Jordan and got his blessing to do the project. “I have to be very clear, this is not the authorized Michael Jordan story,” Ben said. “He was not compensated in a way that would be appropriate if this were that. If you’re going to do a Michael Jordan story, they should back the f****** truck up. 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.’ He was very clear.”
Ben also confirmed that he didn’t talk to Nike about making Air. “I did not have a conversation with Nike because I didn’t feel the same sense of personal responsibility [as I did to Michael Jordan] because it’s not a history of Nike,” he said. “There’s interviews and books about that.”
Ben also revealed to THR that his wife, Jennifer Lopez, had input on the Air script. “She is incredibly knowledgeable about the way fashion evolves through the culture as a confluence of music, sports, entertainment and dance,” Ben said. “She helped me in talking about the way in which a part of the reason why Jordans [the shoes] were so meaningful is because culture and style in America is 90 percent driven by Black culture.”
Matt Damon Then & Now: Photos
‘Air’ Movie: Everything You Need To Know About Ben Affleck’s Nike Film – HollywoodLife