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Ben Affleck explains why you never properly see Michael Jordan in Air
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Ben Affleck explains why you never properly see Michael Jordan in Air

Ben Affleck had a very important reason for hiding Michael Jordan's face in the new biopic, Air.

Ben Affleck has explained why Air never shows Michael Jordan’s face, despite the film being about the basketballer’s collaboration with the sneaker company.

Having previously directed the Oscar-winning Argo, you’d think that Affleck would be keen to cast a recognisable face as the NBA athlete.

However, the 50-year-old director and actor had other ideas as he explained in a recent interview about the film.

Air tells the untold story of Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), a basketball expert who is hoping to score a slam dunk and land an upcoming athlete to promote Nike.

Having met the-then rookie Michael Jordan, he’s convinced that the young player will become a major star and can save the struggling shoe brand.

However, Vaccaro is soon put on the defensive as he struggles to outpace the competition in the insane bidding war for Jordan.

It’s then that Vaccaro must turn to his colleague Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman) and Jordan’s coach George Ravelling (Marlon Wayans), as they try to box out the competition.

Also starring Viola Davies and Affleck himself as gloomy CEO Phil Knight, the film is an incredible look at the start of the now multi-billion-dollar collaboration.

Air stars the likes of Matt Damon and Viola Davis.
Warner Bros.

Whilst the film is a must for all sneakerheads, many will be surprised that audiences never actually see Jordan’s face.

Despite newcomer Damian Delano putting his best foot forward as the NBA star, Affleck actually had a very good reason for keeping his screen time to a minimum.

During a recent junket, the director explained that he’d been hesitant to have Jordan’s face on screen because he is so recognisable.

“Air is not Michael Jordan’s story, but there is no story without him,” he told the press, adding: “I would not have made this movie without first reaching out to him. And I’m grateful to Michael for sharing what was important to him. His presence and influence is felt throughout the film, though we don’t see his face.”

Instead, the film relies on a mixture of Delano's performance and archival footage.

The Justice League actor also admitted that he did this because he was worried that it would ‘shatter the illusion if audiences saw an actor instead of Jordan.

Director Ben Affleck has revealed why Michael Jordan's face isn't ever seen in the new movie.
Warner Bros.

Affleck continued, saying: “Because he is such an icon – an undisputedly important and meaningful figure, someone everyone holds in such high esteem – we didn’t want to shatter the illusion, but rather let the audience invoke their own memories and experiences of what Michael Jordan means.”

However, the Gone Girl star shouldn’t have been so concerned as the film has quickly gained an impressive 97 percent fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes – sounds like a slam dunk, right?

Air hits cinemas on 5 April .

Topics: Ben Affleck, Film and TV, Celebrity, Michael Jordan, Sport, Basketball, NBA