“Air”: The Filmmaking Slam Dunk of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

From the sound of it, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are in a superb place lately. They’ve recognized one another for forty-something years, and now they’re working collectively once more. To hear them describe it, they’ve by no means had a greater time. “That was one of the things that we kind of wanted to do,” mentioned Affleck, “the idea of, like, why aren’t we hanging out and spending more time together, since we managed to stay friends this whole time?”

“Plus, we hit our 50s,” mentioned Damon. “I mean, you can see the end of the tunnel!”

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the celebs of “Air.” 

CBS News

Affleck mentioned, “I find the most wonderful thing about it was I loved coming to work every day. I love seeing Matt. First of all, he’s a genius. Having him as the anchor of your movie just makes it so …”

“See?” laughed Damon. “Forty-something years it took you to …?”

“No, I didn’t used to think this!” Affleck laughed. “But it just makes it so easy. And it was just so much fun – I don’t know. It kinda felt like just us and getting to do the thing that we wanted to do. I did. I loved it. I loved it. I miss it every day since. It was the best, like, work experience of my life, without question.”

That expertise is the film “Air,” debuting in theatres solely on April 5. It tells the story of Nike and the way, again in 1984, they constructed a whole shoe model round one NBA rookie participant they thought would turn into a family title: Michael Jordan.

In the movie, Affleck (who can also be the movie’s director) performs Nike founder Phil Knight; Damon is Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike exec who tries to promote him on the concept.

Vaccaro: “I mean, if you look at him, if you really look at Jordan like I did, you’re going to see exactly what I see.”
Knight: “Which is what?”
Vaccaro: “The most competitive guy I have ever seen. He is a f***ing killer.”

To watch a trailer for “Air” click on on the video participant under:

AIR | Official Trailer by
MGM on

We now comprehend it turned out to be a killer deal for everybody concerned: the Jordan model remains to be flying off the cabinets, with gross sales of greater than $5 billion final 12 months alone.

The film is just not a biopic, however Affleck made certain everybody seemed as near actual as attainable, particularly Damon, who mused, “My favorite thing about Ben is, he put me in a fat suit when I finally get to work with him.”

And based on Affleck, Michael Jordan himself had a couple of options: “A number of things – I’m not sure that I’m at liberty to, like, share every single one. But what I will tell you is he said, ‘Viola Davis is gonna be my mother.'”

“Which is kinda like choosing Michael Jordan for your basketball team,” added Damon.

Davis was in actual fact solid as Michael’s mother, Deloris Jordan. Chris Tucker performs, and helped write, the a part of somebody he is aware of personally: Nike VP Howard White. Affleck mentioned, “I called Chris Tucker, who I’ve always thought was a genius and wanted to work with. And he was like, ‘I know Howard White.’ I said, ‘You know Howard White?’ Turns out later Chris Tucker knows everybody!

One particular person we see little or no of is an actor who performs Jordan. When requested why, Affleck mentioned, to him, the rationale was apparent: “This is a movie about an icon, about somebody who’s so meaningful, that the minute, you know, I show you somebody and tell you, like, ‘Hey, that’s Michael Jordan,’ you just go, ‘No, it isn’t. I know what Michael Jordan is. I know what he is.’

“And not solely that, the one actor who might play Michael Jordan was just a little previous to play this half, and we in all probability could not afford him! But the concept was, like, if I present you somebody, you realize that is not Michael Jordan, and now the whole lot else is pretend,” Affleck mentioned.  

So, the ultimate consequence feels actual. And as all the time, it was a workforce effort.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon met as children in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and clicked from the beginning, chasing the identical Hollywood dream. 

You may not have caught them in 1989’s “Field of Dreams,” as extras someplace within the crowd at Boston’s Fenway Park. But you may’ve caught them in “Good Will Hunting,” for which they each gained the Oscar for authentic screenplay. It launched them, prepared or not, into the Hollywood stratosphere.  

Actor-writers Matt Damon, left, and Ben Affleck, proper, pose with Robin Williams with the Oscars they gained for “Good Will Hunting,” on the seventieth Annual Academy Awards, March 23, 1998, in Los Angeles. Damon and Affleck gained finest authentic screenplay; Williams gained for finest supporting actor.

HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images

Smith requested, “What did it do to you guys, to win it that young?”

“I remember it didn’t settle in for, it was, like, a couple years, I think,” Damon replied. “It was completely surreal.”

“March of ’98, I was 25 years old,” Affleck mentioned. “I look at myself now and think, ‘I still have quite a bit to learn.’ You know, that’s the curse of being 25, is you think you have it all figured out.”

It appears they’ve figured it out. Individually, they’ve earned the whole lot from field workplace respect, to extra Oscar gold.

Affleck mentioned, “Frankly, one of many classes of rising older is, it isn’t all about cash. It’s not an important factor. You spend your life chasing cash, you find yourself, may find yourself with some huge cash, however you will in all probability miss out on plenty of issues. I have never discovered that cash modified any, like, extra happiness that I had. In truth, that is the gorgeous factor about this, is the happiness was having the ability to be right here on daily basis in Los Angeles with my kids round, see them on daily basis. Have them come go to the set. Work with my finest buddy my entire life. There’s nothing extra that I would like in my life. I assumed, ‘Well, that is it. This is what I’ve all the time needed,’ you realize? 

“And then I thought, ‘That might mean I’m about to die!'”

“I literally had the same thought,” Damon laughed. 

And now, collectively Affleck and Damon have fashioned a brand new manufacturing firm referred to as Artists Equity, that’ll give individuals on the movie crew an even bigger slice of the monetary pie.

Damon mentioned, “That’s why it’s called Artists Equity. The idea is that we’re pulling a bunch of people above the line who traditionally aren’t. And they stand to do a lot better financially than they’ve ever done on movies before.”

“Air” is their firm’s first providing, with extra to return quickly. “We’re just getting rolling on working again with Amazon, to do the story of a wrestler named Anthony Robles, who was born with one leg and won a National Championship for Arizona State,” Affleck mentioned.

“And who’s starring in that movie?” requested Smith.

“I know where you’re going with this. But I’m gonna tell you who the lead actor is…”

“Is there another actor in that movie?”

“We always hire the very best performers,” Affleck mentioned. “And in this case, I can say every single person that’s been cast so far I think is the very absolute best choice.”

“You’re dancing around that Jennifer Lopez is also in this movie?”

“Yes, I believe Jennifer Lopez may be doing that movie. Can’t make it look like she’s doing it as a favor to me, but actually she is.”

It appears becoming that Affleck and Damon’s new film is a narrative about collaboration: that is what bought them right here, and what retains them going.

Affleck mentioned, “What fun, what a joy to do something with her, see her be great, go to work with your wife, go to work with your best friend. Because ultimately, like, your work becomes the lion’s share of what defines your life, in terms of the time you spend. And if you don’t like who you’re working with, and if you have difficulty or trouble at work, I think it’s one of the things that can really cause depression, anxiety and pain for people. And conversely, [if] you love the people at work, you probably have a pretty good life, you know?”

For extra information:

  • “Air” opens in theaters April 5

Story produced by John D’Amelio. Editor: Ed Givnish. 

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