The Hollywood Reporter - "Ben Affleck on ‘Air,’ New CEO Gig and Those Memes: “I Am Who I Am”"
"It’s been 25 years since Ben Affleck became the youngest person to win the Oscar for best original screenplay at age 25 for Good Will Hunting, which he wrote with Matt Damon; 16 years since he directed his critically acclaimed first feature, Gone Baby Gone; and a decade since he won best picture for Argo, a film Affleck directed, starred in and produced. His four features as a director — all thrillers and dramas instead of the kind of franchise films that drive the modern box office — have made nearly $450 million worldwide.
It’s an enviable filmmaking résumé, and one that pretty much nobody brings up when you say the name Ben Affleck. But while the world has been scrutinizing his marriage, his mood and his coffee order, Affleck has been quietly building a new production company, Artists Equity, with Damon, founded on the premise of profit-sharing among not only directors, producers and actors but also crewmembers such as cinematographers, editors and costume designers.
Their company’s first movie and Affleck’s latest as a director, is Air, the story of how Michael Jordan’s family and a group of executives at Nike revolutionized the business with one historic sneaker deal. Air, which Amazon will premiere at the South by Southwest film festival March 18 before releasing it wide theatrically April 5, stars Viola Davis as Jordan’s mother; Damon, Chris Tucker and Jason Bateman as execs at Nike; and Affleck as Nike co-founder and former CEO Phil Knight. Making Air was “an unbelievable experience that me and my husband and even my hair and makeup team still talk about to this day,” says Davis, whose husband, actor and producer Julius Tennon, plays Jordan’s father in the film. “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.”"
World of Reel - "‘Air’ Screens to Positive Reviews at SXSW Film Festival"
"“Air” had been finished since last November and that Affleck was so high on the film that he pushed for Amazon to release the film in theaters in December and give it a last-minute Oscar push, sensing a weak Best Picture field. Amazon vetoed that, as the studio was planning a robust theatrical release given its high commercial hopes for Air — hopes that it didn’t want to see dashed by the December release of box office juggernaut Avatar: The Way of Water, which would surely have eaten it alive."
AIR (Feb. 2023)