Viola Davis opens up after learning that she was handpicked by the legendary Michael Jordan to play the role of his mother in the upcoming film “Air.”
During a brief interview at SXSW, the EGOT winner said, “You know you’re flattered at first, and then the next second it’s pressure to play the woman who basically is the orchestrator of this great athlete’s life.”
She continued, “And obviously she was so influential, I’m looking at videos of her and if you’ve ever seen videos of Dolores Jordan, she’s extraordinary.”
Davis went on to share that viewers can expect the unexpected when it comes to the film.
Co-star and director Ben Affleck also spoke about the movie and working with Michael Jordan. “I had a chance to sit down with Michael Jordan, because I just wasn’t going to make this movie without asking him, ‘What matters to you?’ Interestingly, and tellingly, he had a few things that mattered.”
Affleck went on to speak on how Jordan had requested for Howard White, the VP of Jordan Brand, to also have a say in the movie. In another interview, he said, “I got the script and then had the chance again to talk to Michael. Michael Jordan, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the most intimidating, impressive men you’ll ever see in your life.”
He continued, “He told me about his father. And then he talked about his mother. It was the first time I saw this look cross his face. It was a look of reverence, of awe, of love, and gratitude, and innocence. He said, ‘None of this would have ever happened without my mother.’ I said, ‘Who would you like to play your mom?’ He said, ‘Well, it has to be Viola Davis.”
Affleck added, “That’s like saying, ‘Can I play basketball on your court?’ ‘Yeah, if you get Michael Jordan.’ “Viola Davis is the best actor I’ve ever seen. This is a hard business. It’s hard to know if you’re successful. It’s hard to know if you’ve accomplished something. But honest to God, I always felt that if I was a director one day, and I had Viola Davis in a movie, that would really be something. That would mean the world to me. And it does.”
The movie Air is set to hit theaters on April 5th.