Air – The story of the great jump, the film about Nike and Michael Jordan arrives: plot and cast

Arrives today April 6 in Italian cinemas Air – The story of the great leapa film directed by Ben Affleck which tells the courageous intuition of the manager Sonny Vaccaro, the man behind the birth of the famous line of Air Jordan shoes and the collaboration between Nike and the then budding and semi-unknown champion Michael Jordan.

The plot

Air – The story of the great leap recounts the incredible and revolutionary partnership between a young Michael Jordan and the nascent basketball division of Nike, capable of revolutionizing the world of sport with the launch of the Air Jordan brand. At the heart of the story is the feat of this marketing team who make a decisive bet: betting on a budding champion. And the war, involving millions of dollars, between sneaker brands such as Adidas, Nike and Converse in search of a testimonial who could make a difference. But above all, the film is the uncompromising vision of a mother who knows the immense talent of a son who will become the greatest basketball phenomenon of all time.

The cast

Director Ben Affleck also appears in the film as an actor as Phil Knight, co-founder and 50-year chairman and chief executive officer of Nike. Sonny Vaccaro is played by Matt Damon, while Deloris Jordan, the mother of Michael Jordan – who is often mentioned in the film but never appears – has the face of the actress Viola Davis. Also in the cast are Jason Bateman (Rob Strasser), Marlon Wayans (George Raveling), Chris Messina (David Falk), Chris Tucker (Howard White), Gustaf Skarsgård (Horst Dassler) and Julius Tennon (James Jordan). The film is the debut from the Artists Equity production company of Affleck and Damon, lifelong friends and co-authors of an original screenplay by Alex Convery.

Ben Affleck: ‘Viola Davis wanted it from Michael Jordan’

“Once the screenplay was done – Ben Affleck explained – I had the opportunity to talk to Michael Jordan who, for those who don’t know, is one of the most intimidating men. At one point Jordan told me first about his father and then about his mother. And, in the latter case, he did it with a look of awe and awe and love that made me realize how important his mother is to him. So when I asked him who he wanted to play her and he said ‘Viola Davis’ for me he was binding ”.

Matt Damon: “We wanted to capture the enthusiasm of this group of desperate people”

“Ben Affleck and I grew up in that era – says Matt Damon – So we knew the story from our point of view, but not from that of the people who were really involved. And so every time we read the script we had doubts and we immediately put our hands back on it. But when together we worked on the last draft, the certainty that gave us the experience of the decades that saw us busy making films prevailed. Our problem has always been to do something that doesn’t offend Jordan in any way.” Then the actor explains: “We still tried to capture the spirit of these people more than anything else. We weren’t interested in being too precise in the events, but in capturing the enthusiasm of this group of desperate people (Nike covered only 17% of the market at the time) full of contagious energy”.

Viola Davis: “I wanted to know more about this lady capable of fighting with such strength”

“Mothers, you know, are an important thing in anyone’s life, so I was flattered and moved when I was asked to play Michael Jordan’s mother by her own will – says Viola Davis – I know Jordan, but I didn’t know at all that the mother Deloris had wrested from Nike a share in the profits of the shoe thus protecting her son’s interests. I wanted to know more about this lady capable of fighting with such strength and courage. This ability of hers to have cutting-edge insight into her negotiations made her an incredible woman that I’ve longed to play all the more.”