Ben Affleck has an extensive history in Hollywood and an equally remarkable résumé. At age 25, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his work on Good Will Hunting. He’s since directed the highly praised films Gone Baby Gone and Argo, the latter of which received the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Despite his achievements, the public has scrutinized everything from Ben Affleck’s marriage to his coffee order. Yet behind the scenes, he and his longtime buddy and partner Matt Damon have been constructing a new production firm, Artists Equity.
Air: A Passion Project
Filmmaker Ryan Coogler explores how Michael Jordan’s family and a handful of Nike executives made history with a single agreement in Air. All-stars like Damon, Chris Tucker, and Jason Bateman play Nike execs.
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Meanwhile, Ben Affleck plays Nike co-founder and former CEO, Phil Knight, in this film starring Viola Davis as Jordan’s mother. The film’s world debut occurred at the South by Southwest film festival on March 18; on April 5, Amazon will distribute it in theaters.
Together, Ben Affleck and Damon established the profit-sharing production business Artists Equity. Artists Equity’s members include directors, producers, actors, crew personnel, cinematographers, editors, and costume designers.
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Ben Affleck is the company’s CEO, and Damon oversees all creative matters. The two actors raised at least $100 million from RedBird Capital Partners to launch the business. Davis, who portrays Jordan’s mom, says that she and her husband, as well as the members of her hair and makeup crew, still reminisce about their “unbelievable experience” on the set of Air.
“[Making Air was] an unbelievable experience that me and my husband and even my hair and makeup team still talk about to this day.
However, she says the film’s director, Ben Affleck, was a true “auteur” who treated everyone with dignity and respect. Affleck said he felt a lot of pressure to do this movie well because he wanted it to go well in cinemas.
Ben Affleck Seeks Approval
In an interview with THR, Ben Affleck admitted that he consulted Michael Jordan for the film’s approval. After some initial apprehension, he adds that former NBA player Michael Jordan became a big fan of the film.
“We had to get his blessing to use his name and his story. And he was really gracious and supportive. And he’s seen the movie, and he likes it. So, I’m really grateful for that.”
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Ben Affleck has never been shy about expressing his respect for Paul Thomas Anderson, the man behind the camera for Magnolia. It seems that he had to get Anderson’s greenlight for Air’s $30 million production.
“I showed it to Paul [Thomas] Anderson, my favorite director of all time. He knows I really look up to him. And he was like, “This is just a fun movie. I like this movie.” And I’m thinking, “Is it a masterpiece?” Because I think he really is a genius. This guy knows how to do this. Sometimes I get a sort of a [Antonio] Salieri feeling around him. Yeah, I’m good enough to know how great you really are. See, this is me being myself. Let’s find out if it becomes clickbait.”
Despite his personal struggles, Ben Affleck remains focused on his work and continues to look to the future. He will reprise his role as Batman in The Flash and has several other projects in the future. With Air and Artists Equity, Affleck is showing that he’s a talented filmmaker and a champion for change in the industry.
Air will hit theatres on April 5, 2023.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter