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Viola Davis Recently Opened Up About Her Role as Michael Jordan’s Mom in “Air”

When Michael Jordan and Ben Affleck initially met to discuss Air, the director’s movie that focuses on a key moment in the basketball legend’s story. Jordan requested one thing, “Viola Davis. That’s my mom,” the filmmaker recalled.

Air tells of how Michael Jordan’s family and Nike revolutionized the business with a historic sneaker deal. The film premiered Saturday at the South by Southwest film festival, prior to Amazon releasing it theatrically on April 5th.

Davis stated about the film, “Mothers are the most important figures in anybody’s life, so I was very flattered and deeply moved to be asked to play Michael’s mother, I know Michael Jordan but didn’t know that Deloris brokered this deal to get him a huge stake in the shoe and in turn, protected her son’s legacy. I wanted to know more about this woman who had the strength and courage to fight for her son’s worth. For Deloris to have this insight and progressive vision, to stand her ground in the negotiation room – which I know can be the hardest part of the job – makes her an incredible woman. That made me lean into this project.”

Originally Davis’ role was minimal, but was eventually expanded due to input from Jordan and advice from Affleck’s wife, Jennifer Lopez.

One of Davis’s pivotal scenes is a phone call between Deloris and Damon’s character, Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike exec who is trying to sign her son to a contract. The scene is seven pages in the script, which Affleck shot with four cameras on each actor.

Affleck has spoken about recording the film stating, “I want to play the scene so they can get up, they can do whatever they want, they can move around, We did two takes and I said, ‘That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. I’m done. If you want to go again, I’ll shoot all day.’ [Davis] went, she watched the playback. When she came out, it was the first time I saw her smile and I just felt like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was the most lovely, rewarding moment.”

Ga Fullner / Shutterstock.com

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