Ben Affleck and Matt Damon star as Nike executives in the upcoming drama Air.
Famous buddies and scene partners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are back in a new movie and a trailer has just been released in time for the Super Bowl (or Puppy Bowl, if you prefer). This time around, the Last Duel duo is starring in Air, a biopic dramatizing the momentous 1984 deal between sportswear company Nike and basketball legend Michael Jordan; while the Air Jordan shoe has become an iconic piece of shoe history, it was considered a longshot chance at success at the time. Behold, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in Air:
In Air, Ben Affleck plays Phil Knight, co-founder and then-CEO of Nike, while Matt Damon plays his employee, salesman Sonny Vaccaro. As the film begins sometime in the early 1980s, the upstart Nike company is a little-known, Oregon-based shoe company, hopelessly outmatched by the likes of Puma and Adidas. It is Vaccaro’s idea to hitch the company’s star to an up-and-coming basketball player from North Carolina, Michael Jordan. While it is now common wisdom that Jordan is one of the greatest players in history (if not the single greatest), Ben Affleck does not appear to think much of Matt Damon’s plan to recruit a virtually unknown NBA rookie.
In addition to starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Air will feature Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker, and recent EGOT winner Viola Davis. However, it appears that much of the film will focus on the tension between Affleck’s Phil Knight and Damon’s Sonny Vaccaro; at the end of the trailer, the latter finally pitches the name “Air Jordan,” the former is visibly and amusingly not into it. Reportedly, the real-life Phil Knight was similarly unimpressed by the name, much preferring the name “Dimension 6,” which we can all admit is an objectively terrible name for a shoe.
Air was written by Alex Convery and made it to 2021’s Black List, the prestigious film industry receptacle of impressive but unsold screenplays. It was eventually bought by Amazon Studios with the intention of it being the first movie to be produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s new company Artists Equity. Notably, Air will be the first Amazon Studios movie to receive a theatrical release since the 2019 comedy Late Night, which starred Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson.
While Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have frequently appeared in films together, starting all the way back to a gig as uncredited extras in 1989’s Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. Air will be their first movie together since the 2012 Ridley Scott historical drama The Last Duel, which also starred Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. Air will also be the first movie in which Ben Affleck directs Matt Damon, which hopefully goes well for everyone involved.
Air is set to be released in theaters on April 5, so we will be getting a whole lot of Ben Affleck wearing 1980s clothes and Matt Damon being really into this particular shoe pretty soon.