Matt Damon talks about balancing honoring the sports, the artists, Michael Jordan, and everyone and everything involved in telling the story of Air: Courting a Legend.
Prime Video’s Air: Courting a Legend tells the incredible tale of the people that connected Nike and Michael Jordan to make the deal that would revolutionize sports, athlete representation, and the culture of the world. There are numerous people involved and making sure to honor them and their contributions is a major undertaking, then on top of that make it entertaining because it is a movie, and the task seems like an impossible balancing act. Luckily, seasoned professionals came together and made magic, with Matt Damon at the forefront as the lead and a producer on the film.
Matt Damon Talk Balancing Honoring All Inovled and Telling The Story
Matt Damon stars as Sonny Vaccaro in the film, and is also a producer. He worked closely with essentially every actor in the movie but was also integral in crafting the story and bringing it together. During the Air press conference he talks about the process of bringing it to life and balancing all the factors.
“It all started with the script, really. And that’s down to Alex at the end of the table. I just thought it was so great, and I didn’t know the story, and then it was kind of step-by-step, I’d say. Because the first step was getting the blessing of Michael Jordan to even — because, you know, before we got too excited, Ben said we should go see him. And my kids were up to something in New York, and I couldn’t go, so Ben went to Florida to see Michael. And Michael said, ‘No, it’s fine if you make the movie. It’s okay with me.’Matt Damon, Air: Courting a Legend Press Conference
But Ben said, ‘Well, what I really would love to know is what’s most important to you.’ And it was out of that meeting that he said George Raveling, Howard White, and then he started to talk about his mom. And Ben called me afterwards and said it was — you know, Michael’s a very intimidating guy. [laugh]
I mean, he’s an intimidating guy. And, you know, he’s an icon and he’s all of these things, and he has all this meaning for all of us. But Ben said he had this look on his face when he spoke about his mom that I’d never seen before. And so that was the — we felt like, okay, well now we know what the movie is, right? And he said, the only bad news is we have to get Viola Davis. If we don’t get Viola Davis, we can’t make the movie.”
What Was Important to Michael Made the Film
It’s hard imagining celebrities being in awe of or intimidated by other celebrities. But even Ben Affleck and Matt Damon can get star-struck. When you’re telling the story involving one of the most known figures in the world, whose impact on culture everywhere is obvious, you want to make sure you’re telling the story right and to a degree that he approves of. Matt Damon shares how knowing what Michael Jordan wanted shaped the film.
“So that was when we started thinking about how to expand Deloris. And that’s, really, you know, one of the great things about, you know, this cast is that everybody is really a filmmaker. You know, these two sitting next to me are A-list producers.
Right. The Woman King, anybody? You know.
You know, Marlon, Chris, you know, they’re writers as well as actors. You know, they’re filmmakers. And Jason Bateman’s a director, a producer, you know. And that’s what we — like, we really lean on our actors. And part of our process has always been, from Good Will Hunting all the way till today, it’s like, you know, lean into what your actor’s bringing. And the actor always is in the moment and always knows. And we had these conversations with Viola, like, if it doesn’t feel right — like, what do you feel like here?Matt Damon, Air: Courting a Legend Press Conference
You know, because that’s always the way to the best scene.”
The process seems very collaborative, and from what everyone has said in interviews and conferences, a really enjoyable experience for everyone. That enjoyment translates into one truly awesome film that I believe will start the award conversations.
Air: Courting a Legend releases exclusively in theaters on April 5, 2023, from Amazon Studios before premieres globally in over 240 countries and territories worldwide on Prime Video.
ABOUT AIR: COURTING A LEGEND
Release Date: April 5, 2023, exclusively in theaters before premiering on Prime Video.
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Written By: Alex Convery
Produced By: David Ellison, Jesse Sisgold, Jon Weinbach, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Madison Ainley, Jeff Robinov, Peter Guber, and Jason Michael Berman
Production Companies: Skydance Sports; Mandalay Pictures; Artists Equity
Distributed By: Amazon Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures
Cast: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Matthew Maher, Marlon Wayans, Jay Mohr, Julius Tennon, with Chris Tucker and Viola Davis
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.
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