Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker and More Join Ben Affleck’s Nike Drama

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Affleck’s untitled Nike drama for Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures has assembled a stellar cast, with Jason Bateman (ozark), Viola Davis (The King Woman), Chris Tucker (Rush hour franchise), Marlon Wayans (Respect) and Chris Messina (sharp objects) signing for papers, along with Matthew Maher (Our flag means death), Tom Papa (behind the chandelier) and Julius Tennon (Simone Biles’ story: courage to fly).

Director Affleck is also starring in the film, which began production on Monday in Los Angeles, alongside his partner Goodwill Hunt star, Oscar winner Matt Damon.

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The untitled sports marketing film will tell the incredible story of how independent shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) led a new running shoe company called Nike in its search for the most transformative athlete in the history of sports: Michael Jordan. Affleck will play Nike co-founder Phil Knight in the story surrounding Nike’s long-term effort to sign Jordan to his shoe company in the mid-1980s, an endorsement that seemed impossible at the time, but which would become the most significant among an athletic brand. and athlete and launched the multibillion-dollar global contemporary tennis industry. Sonny’s relentless quest to hire Jordan to what was then the No. 3 shoe company leads him to Jordan’s parents and, in particular, his powerful and dynamic mother, as well as former coaches, advisers, friends, and close people. to Michael. Jordan himself is a giant mythical figure hovering above the film and never seen before, as Sonny tries to reach him by gaining access to those close to him and around him.

Bateman will play Vaccaro’s boss Rob Strasser, the longtime Nike executive and attorney-turned-brand guru who oversaw the company’s marketing and messaging across all sports. Strasser was a key figure in Nike’s efforts to sign (and later promote) Jordan.

Davis will play Jordan’s mother Deloris Jordan, who was a huge influence on Michael’s deal with Nike, with Tucker as Howard White, a former University of Maryland college basketball player. White was a junior executive in Nike’s fledgling basketball department in the early 1980s, regularly serving as the company’s daily connection to its roster of NBA players, which included notable names such as Moses Malone, George Gervin and Artis Gilmore.

Wayans was cast as college basketball pioneer George Raveling, who was the first black coach at two iconic conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Pacific-10. Additionally, in 1984, he was the head coach of the University of Iowa and assistant to the gold medal-winning US men’s Olympic basketball team, where he met and befriended Michael Jordan. Raveling was a dear friend of Vaccaro’s, and with Sonny’s encouragement, he first pitched the idea of ​​signing with Nike to Michael.

Messina was tapped to play Jordan’s original agent David Falk, who represented several prominent NBA players prior to signing Michael, including a pair of No. of North Carolina) and Marco Aguirre. Falk is often credited with the name “Air Jordan”. Maher will play Peter Moore, the legendary Nike (and later Adidas) designer who created the designs for the first Air Jordan sneakers, as well as the iconic “Wings” and “Jumpman” logos for the Air Jordan brand.

Papa is playing Stu Inman, the former Portland Trail Blazers executive who selected injured center Sam Bowie ahead of Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft, with Tennon as Jordan’s father James, who also influenced his decision. to sign with Nike.

Alex Convery wrote the original screenplay, titled Air Jordan, which was nominated for the 2021 Black List of Best Unproduced Screenplays. Mandalay brought it to Skydance Sports President Jon Weinbach, who secured Vaccarro’s lifetime rights. Affleck and Damon made a subsequent stint on the script and are producing alongside Peter Guber, Jason Michael Berman, Jeff Robinov, Madison Ainley and David Ellison. Executive producers include Jon Weinbach, Jesse Sisgold, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger, Kevin Halloran, Michael Joe, John Graham, Drew Vinton, Jordan Moldo and Peter E. Strauss. The film will premiere on Prime Video in over 240 countries and territories worldwide.

Bateman is an Emmy Award winner who directed, produced and starred in the critically acclaimed Netflix drama series ozark, which recently reached the end of its fourth and final season. He is perhaps best known for his turn as Michael Bluth in the Netflix comedy series development stuck from Imagine Television, The Hurwitz Company and 20th Television. Other recent credits on the acting side include the HBO miniseries The outside and the action comedy game night from directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.

Davis is an Oscar and Emmy winner best known for performances in films such as Ma Rainey black bottom, fences and Doubtand for her portrayal of Annalize Keating on ABC How to get rid of murder. Currently, she can be seen playing former First Lady Michelle Obama on the Showtime show. the first ladyand will also soon be seen in films like TriStar’s historical epic The King Woman. Other recent credits include The unforgivable, the suicidal squid and Zero Troop.

Tucker is an actor and comedian best known for his role as Carter on New Line’s Rush hour franchise and has also been seen in films such as Billy Lynn Part-Time Hike, Silver linings Playbook, Jackie Brown, The fifth Element and Fridaybetween others.

Wayans is an actor, writer, producer and comedian whose credits include in vivid colors, Requiem for a dreammultiple Scary Movie films, the ladykillers, white chicks, Little man, Norbit, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, The heat and the NBC comedy Marlon. He was recently seen in the movies on the stones and Respectjust like Peacock New Prince reimagining, Bel-Airand will appear next in Jeff Wadlow’s horror-comedy, Boo!

Messina appeared in previous Affleck films argo and live at nightand has also been seen in recent features like I care a lot, she dies tomorrow and Birds of prey. Currently, the actor can be seen in the Starz drama series Watergate. gas litand will next be seen in Phyllis Nagy’s timely drama at Sundance in 2022 call janeas well as mystery thriller The bogeymanthe science fiction thriller ISS from director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the musical drama by Bill Pohlad dreaming wild and David Rabe we just got married.

Maher can currently be seen on Prime Video External Reach and HBO Max Our flag means death. He will appear next in the Owen Kline movie funny pagesthe Apple TV+ series Hello tomorrow! and the Yale Entertainment thriller The Kill Room with Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson and more.

Papa is a comedian and actor who has appeared in series such as red oaks, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Knick and Inside Amy Schumerin addition to movies like top five, behind the chandelier and The Informant!.

Tennon runs JuVee Productions with his wife, Davis. His recent credits on the acting side include the Lifetime TV movie Simone Biles’ story: courage to fly, How to get rid of murder and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Bateman is represented by CAA and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller; Davis by CAA, Lasher Group and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols; Tucker from ICM Partners and Tracy Kramer from Toltec Artists; Wayans by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment and Yorn, Levine, Barnes; Messina by CAA, Entertainment 360 and Gendler & Kelly; Maher by CESD and Viking Entertainment; Pope for the UTA; and Tennon by Lasher Group.

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