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Michael Jordan had a list of demands for new Nike biopic

Emily Brown

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Michael Jordan had a list of demands for new Nike biopic

Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo/Warner Bros

Air star Ben Affleck has revealed that Michael Jordan had a list of demands in place for the making of the biopic, which details how Nike pursued him to create Air Jordans.

The drama, which stars Damian Young as Jordan, is set to be released next month with Matt Damon in the role of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro.

It follows Vaccaro as he led Nike in its pursuit of Jordan, so director and co-star Ben Affleck decided to approach the basketball star to make sure he was happy with how the movie was set to play out.

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Speaking at the film's premiere at the 2023 SXSW Conference and Festival in Texas, Affleck said: "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."

Jordan's requirements for the film began with Howard White, vice president of the Jordan brand and a Nike executive, who was not featured in the original script.

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However, Jordan said he 'needed to be in the movie', and so Chris Tucker was cast in the role of White.

But his requests didn't stop there though.

Matt Damon and Jason Bateman star in Air. Credit: Warner Bros.
Matt Damon and Jason Bateman star in Air. Credit: Warner Bros.

Affleck continued: "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.

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"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, of awe, of love, and gratitude, and innocence.

"He said, ‘None of this would have ever happened without my mother'."

Knowing it meant a lot to him, Affleck then asked Jordan who he wanted to play his mum, to which he responded: "Viola Davis.”

“That’s like saying, ‘Can I play basketball on your court?’ ‘Yeah, if you get Michael Jordan'." Affleck said.

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He continued: “Viola Davis is the best actor I’ve ever seen. This is a hard business. It’s hard to know if you’re successful. It’s hard to know if you’ve accomplished something."

Though he knew it might be tricky, Affleck did succeed in casting Davis in the movie.

He said at SXSW: "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.”

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The director invited Davis on to the stage at the premiere before the crowd got their first look at Air, which is set to arrive in the US on 5 April.

Topics: Film & TV, Celebrity, Film and TV, Sport, Michael Jordan, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon

Emily Brown
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