Ben Affleck’s Nike Movie Adds Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker

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Ben Affleck has rounded out the cast for his upcoming film about Nike and its efforts to sign Michael Jordan to an endorsement deal, adding Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker, Marlon Wayans and more to star alongside both himself and Matt Damon.

Also joining the cast are Matthew Maher, Tom Papa, Chris Messina and Julius Tennon. Affleck is directing the film from a script he collaborated on with Damon and was written by Alex Convery, eventually landing on the 2021 Black List of unproduced screenplays.

The untitled Nike film is set at Amazon Studios from Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures, and production has recently begun in Los Angeles.

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Damon, whom Affleck is directing for the first time despite their long history of collaborating, in the movie plays maverick sneaker salesman and former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, while Affleck plays Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The story is about Nike’s long-shot effort to sign Michael Jordan to its shoe company in the mid-1980s. It was an endorsement that seemed impossible at the time but would become the most significant relationship between an athletic brand and an athlete ever, launching the global, multi billion-dollar sneaker industry.

Bateman in the film plays Rob Strasser, an attorney-turned-branding-guru who was a longtime Nike executive—and Sonny Vaccaro’s boss—who oversaw the company’s marketing and messaging across all sports. He was an instrumental figure in Nike’s efforts to sign (and later promote) Michael Jordan.

Davis is playing Deloris Jordan, or MJ’s mom, who was an enormous influence on the deal Nike made with Michael, and Tennon will be Jordan’s dad James Jordan.

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Chris Tucker is Howard White, a former college basketball player at the University of Maryland. White was a junior executive at Nike’s fledgling basketball department in the early eighties, regularly serving as the company’s day-to-day connection with its roster of NBA players, which included notable names such as Moses Malone, George Gervin and Artis Gilmore.

Marlon Wayans will play George Raveling, a trailblazer in college basketball who was the first Black coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Pacific-10. Additionally, in 1984, he was the head coach at the University of Iowa and an assistant of the gold medal-winning U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team, where he met and befriended Michael Jordan. Raveling was a dear friend of Sonny Vaccaro’s, and with Sonny’s prodding, Raveling first introduced the idea of signing with Nike to Michael.

Maher will play shoe designer Peter Moore, who came up with the first Air Jordan sneakers and the “Wings” and “Jumpman” logos. Messian will be David Falk, Jordan’s original agent often credited with coming up with the name “Air Jordan.” And finally Papa will play Stu Inman, the former executive of the Portland Trail Blazers who famously selected oft-injured center Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft.

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Affleck and Damon are also 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 project will be the first from Skydance’s new sports division helmed by president Jon Weinbach, who was a producer of the hit “30 for 30” Chicago Bulls docuseries “The Last Dance” and co-directed the ESPN doc “Sole Man” about Vacarro’s life and career.

Affleck and Damon recently shared the screen in “The Last Duel,” which was based on a script they co-wrote. But this is Affleck’s first film behind the camera since 2016’s “Live By Night.”

Deadline first reported the news.

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