SXSW Goes Wild for Ben Affleck’s Michael Jordan Biopic – Variety

Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, and Chris Tucker scored a standing ovation for South by Southwest Saturday night with their closing film. “Air” was an instant hit, even without the presence of its subject, basketball legend Michael Jordan.

A year after “Everything Everywhere at Once” debuted at SXSW on its way to winning seven Academy Awards, the Austin festival has launched another party from audiences.

“Air,” directed by Affleck and written by Alex Convery, not only received a standing ovation when its credits rolled, but also continued cheers throughout the inspiring film — particularly in scenes involving Davis as Deloris Jordan, while negotiating with Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon). ) from Nike for what her son deserves.

The film follows the origin story of Nike’s Air Jordan shoe line, which begins with Vaccaro’s strong faith in Michael Jordan (Damien Young) when he was just a freshman. On top of directing, Affleck also starred in the film as Nike co-founder Phil Knight, and he credited his co-stars for the pride he felt in the finished product.

“My whole directing strategy is to find brilliant people and say, ‘Just do it! ” “I’m not joking. I feel like I just got to testify to all that performance and the energy and their special composition they brought.”

“I am fortunate enough to be a part of telling this story that resonates about value and value and things that go far beyond what I can pass for authorship, to the deepest parts of this country and how we view ourselves and each other,” she continued.

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Viola Davis—whom Affleck called “the best actor in the world” during his opening remarks—said it was an honor to play Delores.

“I think she was doing what we mothers do. We believe in our children more than anything,” she said. “My mother was born in 1943. Delores was born in 1940. She was born into a generation of people whose dreams were their children. It’s Jim Crow height. It’s the height of black people being told their dreams don’t matter. So for her to have that great vision for her son, to believe it so wholeheartedly, is absolutely miraculous.”

AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 18: (LR) Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Alex Convery, Chris Tucker, Viola Davis, Julius Tenon, Chris Messina, Jason Bateman attend the world premiere of “AIR” during SXSW 2023 Convention & Festivals at the Paramount Theater On March 18, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Fraser Harrison/Getty Images for SXSW)
Getty Images for SXSW

“I would show up every day and had five to seven pages to do opposing reps like thissaid Damon, who also served as a producer on “Air.” “It was ridiculous. From the moment we read Alex’s script until the last cut we did, it was just an absolute joy. This was the best experience of my life. When you go to work with Viola Davis In a five-day scene, and at 10:30 you’re done, and it’s the best thing you’ve ever done in your career, you’re like, “Well, I guess we should keep working. What else can we do today?”

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“What Ben and Matt could do with this story, which is an American business story – they made a rock show like that,” added Jason Bateman, who played Nike marketing executive Rob Strasser. “And it would have somehow been enhanced by what Michael Jordan means to all of us. I will never think of Michael Jordan the same way again.”

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