“There’s nothing cool about Nike,” Marlon Wayans’s character George Raveling says in the first trailer for Air, which reunites best friends and frequent collaborators Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. That’s what people thought back in 1984—at least, until the flailing shoe brand met a promising rookie named Michael Jordan.
Affleck directs and stars as Nike cofounder Phil Knight in the film, alongside Damon as Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro—two of the men behind a landmark deal between Jordan and the company’s basketball division. The film centers on the pursuit of that partnership, which led to the development of Nike’s beloved Air Jordan sneakers. Although this is the first time Affleck has directed Damon, the pair won the Oscar for best original screenplay for their Good Will Hunting script in 1998 and starred in 2021’s The Last Duel, which they cowrote with Nicole Holofcener. Air is the first project to emerge from Artists Equity, the production company Affleck and Damon formed last year.
Newly minted EGOT winner Viola Davis stars as Deloris, Jordan’s mother and vocal advocate. She’s joined by her real-life husband, Julius Tennon, as Michael’s father, the late James Jordan, in addition to Jason Bateman as Rob Strasser, Chris Messina as David Falk, Chris Tucker as Howard White, Matthew Maher as Peter Moore, and Gustaf Skarsgård as Horst Dassler. In a perhaps strange twist, it appears that Michael Jordan himself will not be a major character.
The film is getting a major push from Amazon, including a $7 million Super Bowl spot this weekend. Air has also secured the largest theatrical release in the studio’s history on April 5 before it hits Prime Video at a later date.
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