Viola Davis and Julius Tennon had ‘unbelievable experience’ making AIR

Michael Jordan suggested casting Viola Davis as his mother Deloris.

Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon had an “unbelievable experience” playing Michael Jordan’s parents in AIR.

The sports drama, directed by Ben Affleck, tells the story of Nike bosses as they set about trying to secure a sponsorship deal with the basketball legend. Davis and Tennon play Jordan’s parents Deloris and James.

Reflecting on the shoot in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar winner said, “(It was) an unbelievable experience that me and my husband and even my hair and make-up team still talk about to this day. Ben’s an auteur and so unbelievably kind and respectful. It was one of our top experiences of being treated the way we felt we deserved to be treated.”

Affleck met up with Jordan to discuss the movie and asked if he had any ideas about who could play his mother. The sports star suggested Davis, even though the character of Deloris only had one line in the script at that point.

“‘How am I going to offer Viola Davis a movie with one line? That’s not going to happen,'” Affleck recalled thinking. “But he (Jordan) was like, ‘That’s my mom.’ He was dead serious… And that was it. Discussion was over.”

The director added that he managed to book Davis for the part by “begging” and treating her “with respect”. As a result of her casting, the character of Deloris became significantly more substantial in the movie.

AIR, also starring Matt Damon and Chris Tucker, is in cinemas now.

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