Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, starring in their debut film, Air talk about Affleck’s experience of finally being given the directorial opportunity on a film project with Matt Damon. The latest collaborative effort of these longtime friends, Air, is a biographical drama sports feature film about Sonny Vaccario (Damon), a Nike shoe salesman working to secure rookie Michael Jordan in a promotional deal before he becomes a legend.
Apart from his directorial debut, Affleck also helms the co-star role of businessman Phil Knight in this film based on true events.
IndieWire reports that during a recent Q&A at a screening of the film, Affleck and Damon revealed to the audience about the whole experience of Affleck directing Damon for the first time in a feature film credited to Air.
The two actors being lighthearted with one another discussed how their work on Air didn’t feel any more different than every other time the duo had collaborated, positively affecting the filmmaking experience. Here’s Affleck and Damon’s take on their collaborative experience:
Damon: Well, it might seem like the first time he’s directed me. I mean, we did high school plays where he was like, ‘Dude, I think you should do it like this.’ He’s been directing me for like forty-something years.
Honestly, it was kind of a natural progression. We’ve written a bunch of movies and produced and acted together for so many years and decades, so it didn’t feel any different, working this way.
Affleck: We’ve gotten that question a lot, I keep thinking, ‘Should it have felt different?’ Because it felt exactly the same. And what was really wonderful about it was, I love and trust Matt so much, and it was so lovely to be working together, it was kind of like a feeling of, I want the other actors to feel [this too]. Like, ‘Come on, it’s all good, I love actors, I love you, you’re going to be OK, everyone, take as much time as you want, do what you need to do and be respected, and to kind of project that energy.’
Ben Affleck & Matt Damon’s Collaborative History Explained
Air is only the prolific actors’ most recent collaboration. Since the duo’s early filmmaking days, Affleck and Damon have been lifelong friends. The two co-wrote and starred in their first feature film collaboration (1997’s) Good Will Hunting which got nominated for nine Oscars, securing two, which included one for Best Screenplay. Since this collaboration, the duo has stacked quite a number of movies together, which include 1999’s Dogma and 2021’s The Last Duel.
Since the pair have collaborated together so frequently, seeing them onscreen together in Air comes as no surprise. The film’s official trailer sees Damon’s Sonny attempting to convince Affleck’s Phil of risking having then-rookie Michael Jordan endorse Nike’s basketball shoe division. Affleck and Damon seem faithful and dedicated to portraying their respective roles as the movie documents Nike’s rise thanks to the Air Jordan basketball shoe line.
Given their friendship, and being the first time Affleck officially directed Damon, the duo was most likely able to collaborate closely behind the scenes. Affleck as director of the movie plus his co-starring role, combined with Damon’s acting skills, are most certainly sure to influence the depiction of the historical events in this film. It will be nothing short of intriguing to see how Air is portrayed and influenced taking into account the duo’s friendship and Affleck’s direction of Damon when it arrives in theaters in April.