Viola Davis Was Unaware Michael Jordan Personally Cast Her as His Mom in 'AIR' : 'Blew My Mind' |

Viola Davis Was Unaware Michael Jordan Personally Cast Her as His Mom in ‘AIR’ : ‘Blew My Mind’

Viola Davis says she was “flattered” after learning Michael Jordan personally selected her to play his mother in the new film, ‘AIR.’

Viola shared her excitement on the red carpet at Saturday’s premiere of the film during SXSW in Austin.

via People:

“I’m just hearing about it now,” said Davis as she walked the red carpet with husband and costar Julius Tennon. “So yeah, so it blew my mind. I’m glad I didn’t know about it before.”

Tennon, 69, added: “It’s pretty awesome that he wanted her to play his mom.”

In AIR, Deloris helps bring her then-rookie son’s Nike deal to fruition in 1984, resulting in his now-iconic signature Air Jordan shoe and the multi-billion dollar Jordan Brand. Tennon plays Michael’s late father, James Jordan Sr.

Davis researched by watching videos of Deloris, currently 81, from that era, noting “the fear” of getting her portrayal right.

“I use the term zen neutrality with her. Someone who just moves calmly through life, making major decisions, slaying dragons, making dreams come true. But doing it calmly and succinctly. Yeah, that’s not me,” added Davis.

Although M.J. originally had his sights set on Adidas, it was his mother who urged him to hear Nike out. “My mother said, ‘You’re gonna go listen. You may not like it, but you’re gonna go listen.’ She made me get on that plane and go listen,” he recalled in his 2020 ESPN docuseries The Last Dance.

Nike subsequently gave him the signature shoe that Adidas wouldn’t, as well as $250,000 (more than double their competitor’s offer).

“[I] go into that meeting not wanting to be there, and Nike made this big pitch,” said Jordan. “My father said, ‘You’d have to be a fool not taking this deal. This is the best deal.'”

Deloris has even been immortalized in Air Jordan form after her son debuted the Dear Deloris in 2021, part of his Jordan Series, which pays tribute to those who have shaped his legacy.

AIR, the first title under Ben Affleck and Matt Damon‘s Artists Equity production banner, was helmed by Affleck, 50, who also plays Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Damon, 52, stars as Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike salesman who worked on signing M.J.

We’re sure Viola’s performance in ‘AIR’ is as stellar as always.

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