Ben Affleck has been directing movies for many years now and even won an Oscar for his 2012 directorial feat, Argo. His latest film, Air, tells the story of Nike's attempt to woo NBA prospect Michael Jordan, which led to the creation of Air Jordan sneakers. The cultural significance of the sneaker line was an important aspect of the film. Thankfully, Affleck’s "brilliant" wife, Jennifer Lopez, was an incredible resource for expanding Affleck’s knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
Ben Affleck was the subject of a profile done by THR and, during it, he talked about his latest film and what drew him to the particular story which inspired Air. Affleck reflected on the importance the Air Jordan footwear line had on the fashion industry as well as its cultural significance to the Black community. And apparently, JLo's knowledge of the fashion world helped better contextualize the story for him as a director:
Oh my God, she’s brilliant. She is incredibly knowledgeable about the way fashion evolves through the culture as a confluence of music, sports, entertainment and dance. She helped me in talking about the way in which a part of the reason why Jordans [the shoes] were so meaningful is because culture and style in America is 90 percent driven by Black culture.
Singer, dancer, songwriter and now, script consultant? Is there anything that Jennifer Lopez can't do? But seriously, the Good Will Hunting star certainly had a valuable resource to draw from. It's also cute to think that the two were able to collaborate in such a way.
The Oscar winner further discussed how important it was for him to fully understand how Black culture has influenced fashion and mainstream culture. This was key to making the film feel authentic. He understood how predominantly white Nike was at the time and how Micheal Jordan changed the way sneakers were marketed, saying:
Black culture has historically pioneered music, dance, fashion, and it’s then been stolen, appropriated, remarketed as Elvis or whatever. And in this case, [Nike], a white-run corporate entity, was starting to do business with African American athletes in an identity affiliation sales thing. They were really taking value from what Michael Jordan represents and who he is. I don’t think the meaning can be overstated. They’re going to switch from ‘Hey, guys, we are a nice shoe,’ to ‘If Mike has it, you want it.’
Clearly it was important for Ben Affleck to fully understand the context of his subject matter before telling the story on screen. Like any good director, making sure your story is fully realized and communicated is important for creating an authentic piece of art. It certainly seems that the former Batman actor certainly was determined to get this particular story right. Jennifer Lopez and Affleck have worked together before and clearly trust each other with creative endeavors. You love to see a power couple working together and hopefully that insight benefits the movie.
Air stars the filmmaker's longtime pal, Matt Damon, along with Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker, and the director himself. It premiered at the SXSW film festival over the weekend as a surprise closing film. Michael Jordan was actually involved in the pre-production aspects of the film, and Amazon bought exclusive streaming rights to the film. The script was a blacklist spec script written by Alex Convery that Ben Affleck and Chris Tucker reworked for the final product.
This movie has the potential to be an instant sports classic, and one would think that the cast and crew are hopeful that'll be the case. We'll see how it ends up performing but, regardless of whether or not it does well, I'm sure the director will still appreciate the help from his superstar wife.
Air hits theaters on April 5th, and will have a significant theatrical run before it's available for Amazon Prime subscribers to stream. In addition, make sure you stay in the know on upcoming Ben Affleck projects. And for more information on other films hitting cinemas and streaming in the near future, make sure you consult CinemaBlend’s schedule of 2023 new movie releases.