Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are no strangers to working together. From their 1997 Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting to co-starring in Ridley Scott's 2021 historical drama The Last Duel, the pair are used to collaborating, but upcoming drama Air is the first time Affleck has been Damon's director.
"It was great," Damon, who plays Nike salesman Sonny Vaccaro, tells the Inside Total Film podcast. "It was a natural extension of writing scripts with somebody – you’re basically doing creative problem-solving all day long. So it wasn’t an unfamiliar position to be in with him. It just felt like a very natural progression of working together. He is a great director, for sure. He really gets the best out of everyone. He wisely believes that casting is really 95% of the job. And then once you do that, you’ve really got to put these people that you cast in a position to just be free and do their best work."
The film tells the real-life story of the deal between Nike and basketball superstar Michael Jordan, in the days before he was a household name, that led to the creation of Air Jordans, one of the brand's most iconic shoes.
"Honestly, the thing about working with your friends is that it’s actually the way that you should work with everybody else," Affleck adds. "Which is, they should feel like you like them. There’s no pressure. It’s just us. And be relaxed. And feel support. Because I only know that that’s what I want as an actor, and that’s how I feel I do my best work. So, really, the way I work with Matt is just the same way with everybody else, which is not to be a dictator."
For more from the full conversation with Affleck and Damon – and their co-stars Chris Tucker and Marlon Wayans – check out the latest episode of the Inside Total Film podcast, available on:
Air arrives on the big screen on April 5. In the meantime, check out our guide to the rest of the most exciting upcoming movies on the way in 2023 and beyond.