Monday, June 13, 2022

Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker and Marlon Wayans Join Nike Movie from Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

Jason Bateman Viola Davis Chris Tucker Nike Movie Ben Affleck Matt Damon

The upcoming biopic directed by Ben Affleck is recruiting an all-star ensemble cast, which so far includes Emmy-winner Jason Bateman, Oscar-winner Viola Davis, Chris Tucker, Marlon Wayans, Matthew Maher, Chris Messina, Tom Papa and Julius Tennon.

The Amazon Prime Video movie stars Matt Damon as maverick sneaker salesman and former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, who relentlessly pursued basketball legend Michael Jordan in the mid-'80s. Affleck will also star as Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Affleck and Damon also worked together on the script, which was penned by Alex Convery and named to the 2021 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays. This is their third writing collaboration since 2021's "The Last Duel" and the Oscar-winning 1997 script for "Good Will Hunting".

The movie will focus on Nike's long-shot effort to sign Jordan to the shoe company, an endorsement that seemed impossible at the time, but would become the most significant relationship between an athletic brand and an athlete. The strategic partnership helped launch the global, multibillion-dollar contemporary sneaker industry.

Bateman will star as Rob Strasser, Vaccaro's boss and longtime Nike executive, who was instrumental in the company's efforts to sign, and later promote, Jordan as he oversaw the company's marketing and messaging.

Davis will play Jordan's mother Deloris, who had enormous influence on the basketball legend's decision to sign the deal. Tucker has signed on to play Howard White, a junior executive in Nike's fledgling basketball department who served as the day-to-day connection with its roster of NBA players following his time as a college basketball player for the University of Maryland.

Wayans joins the cast as George Raveling, the trailblazing college basketball coach who was the first Black coach in both the ACC and the PAC 10. Raveling met and befriended Jordan while serving as an assistant coach on the 1984 gold medal-winning U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team. Raveling was a dear friend of Vaccaro's, and with Sonny's prodding, first introduced the idea of signing with Nike to Jordan.

Maher will play Peter Moore, the legendary designer for Nike, and later Adidas, who was behind designs for the first Air Jordan sneakers, in addition to the iconic "Wings" and "Jumpman" logos for the Air Jordan brand.

Messina stars as David Falk, Jordan's original agent, who is credited with coming up with the name "Air Jordan". Papa will play Stu Inman, while Tennon joins the cast as Jordan's father James.

Production started on Monday in Los Angeles. The film will premiere on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.


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