Ben Affleck agreed to cast Viola Davis in Air after golf course chat with Michael Jordan

Ben Affleck ran plans for his new Nike movie Air past his pal Michael Jordan during a day out at the golf course - and agreed to cast Viola Davis as the basketball legend's mum



Ben Affleck talked to Michael Jordan before telling the story of his partnership with Nike in new movie Air
Ben Affleck talked to Michael Jordan before telling the story of his partnership with Nike in new movie Air

Ben Affleck agreed to cast Viola Davis in 'Air' after a chat with Michael Jordan at a golf course.

The 'Argo' star directs the new movie about Jordan's hugely successful partnership with sportswear giant Nike - and Ben has admitted he wanted to talk to his pal about the film before bringing the Air Jordan story to the big screen so he caught up with him after playing a few rounds.

Affleck told The Hollywood Reporter: "I periodically play cards sometimes with Michael, and we’ve got mutual friends ... I said: 'Please, can I come out [and talk to you]?'. 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 waited."

Affleck went on to explain why he needed to speak to Jordan about the film, saying: "I have to be very clear, this is not the authorised 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 f******* 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'."

Affleck revealed Jordan was incredibly helpful and actually had a very clear vision about who he wanted to play his mum in the movie: "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 realised: 'Oh, this isn’t about Nike'.

"I said: 'So, do you have any ideas about who would …?' ... I knew who he was going to say because it was the same person that I’ve wanted to direct for so long ... [Jordan] looked at me real straight and - by the way, there’s one line for the mother character in the movie at this point - and I’m thinking: 'Oh my God, he wants me to offer this to Viola Davis. How am I going to offer Viola Davis a movie with one line? That’s not going to happen.'

"But he was like: 'That’s my mom'. He was dead serious. 'Viola Davis, that’s my mom.' And that was it. Discussion was over. However it happened, it wasn’t his problem, but it was going to f****** happen. And I was like: 'OK, Mike'."

'Air' stars Matt Damon, Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman with Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan while Affleck also has a role playing Nike boss Phil Knight.