Air star Ben Affleck says that Michael Jordan was involved with his new Amazon movie. The trailer for Air was a big hit during the Super Bowl. (Probably due to that wild sweatsuit Affleck was wearing for the role!) But, The Hollywood Reporter got to talk to the actor about the highly-anticipated feature. He says the NBA superstar had some real input on what narrative threads they decided to chase. Jordan proved instrumental in humanizing this tale and not just focusing on the business side of this story. He might not have been on the payroll, but he was a huge help for Affleck during Air's production.
"I periodically play cards sometimes with Michael, and we've got mutual friends, and … None of it sounds good, OK? And it's not like he'd be like, 'Oh yeah, Ben's my boy.' (Imitating Jordan's voice.) He'd be like, 'Yeah, I know him.' Jordan is — he's a hero to me," Affleck said. "And I know how important and meaningful a figure he is, in particular in the African American community. If you're going to fuck around with talking about Michael Jordan, do it respectfully. Nobody's asking you to do a hagiography, but get it fucking right."
"I've never known anybody with that kind of charisma and power who walks into a room and it just reverberates," he added. "And is it him or is it the way people treat him? Is it your memories of him? I don't know, but it's powerful. I said, 'Please, can I come out?' And he was great. 'Yeah, no problem. Come to the golf course.' Went out, met with him. I waited for him to finish playing. I don't golf myself. Because I just feel like it eats people's lives up."
"I have to be very clear, this is not the authorized Michael Jordan story. He was not compensated in a way that would be appropriate if this were that. If you're going to do a Michael Jordan story, they should back the fucking truck up. This was me saying, 'Mike, I'm not going to make the movie if you're not cool with something about it. I just won't do it. I want to know what's important to you.' He was very clear," Affleck recalled. "He was the one who told me about [Nike executive] Howard White, who wasn't in the original script, who's played by Chris Tucker. And I said, 'Any anecdotes about your dad?' And without going into any more detail, he actually talked about his mom, who wasn't really in the script. That's when I understood what the movie was. Talking to him about his mom was incredibly moving, and I realized, 'Oh, this isn't about Nike.'"
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