Matt Damon on Telling an Underdog Story With ‘Air’ & Creating a Movie For Everyone

Matt Damon believes the cast and crew of “Air” has created something for everyone.

“It really is one of those stories that comes along and you go, ‘Wow, this is really for everybody.’ We used to call them feel good movies,” Damon said during a press conference discussing the film.

He continued, “It’s not a strictly sports movie. For the sports aficionados, they’ll love the kind of behind the scenes, behind the curtain type of stuff in here, but it really has surprised a lot of the people who weren’t expecting [it to be] this. It sneaks up on you because of the role that Viola [Davis] plays [Deloris Jordan] and how she kind of takes over the movie.”

The movie, which chronicles the game-changing partnership between MJ and Nike, is scheduled to arrive in theaters on April 5. In “Air,” Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro, the sports marketing executive who helped convince MJ — and his mother, Dolores — that he should sign with Nike in 1984.

With the film, which was directed by longtime friend Ben Affleck, Damon said they aimed to “capture the spirit” of the people involved with this historic deal.

“All of these people on the Nike side, independent of one another, have talked about this time was such nostalgia. That’s what we were trying to create and remind people they were the underdog — which is such a weird way to think of Nike now,” Damon said. “Before this incredible deal, they really were these kind of renegades, kind of outsiders. The characters all had this incredible, infectious energy I thought that was really jumping off the page. The script was really quite something.”

Creating a movie that everyone could enjoy, Damon explained, was because of the ultratalented cast of multihyphenates.

“One of the great things about this cast is that everybody is really a filmmaker. Marlon [Wayans] and Chris [Tucker], they’re writers as well as actors, they’re filmmakers, and Jason Bateman is a director and producer,” Damon said. “We really lean on our actors and part of our process has always been — from ‘Goodwill Hunting’ all the way till today — is to lean into what your actor is bringing. The actor always is in the moment, always knows. We had these conversations with Viola. Like, ‘If it doesn’t feel right, what do you feel like here?’ That’s always the way to the best scene.”

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