Michael Jordan really wanted Viola Davis to play his mom.
On Saturday night, the Oscar-winning actress walked the red carpet at the SXSW premiere of the new movie “AIR”, about the creation of Nike’s iconic Air Jordans.
Speaking with People, Davis was informed that the basketball legend personally picked her to play his mother Deloris,
“I’m just hearing about it now,” she said. “So yeah, so it blew my mind. I’m glad I didn’t know about it before.”
Her husband and co-star, Julius Tennon, added, “It’s pretty awesome that he wanted her to play his mom.”
On stage at the premiere, director Ben Affleck shared how Davis’ casting came about.
“Michael Jordan is, for those of you who don’t know, the most intimidating, impressive man you’ll ever see in real life,” he told the audience. “He talked about his mother. … He just said, ‘None of this would have ever happened without my mother doing everything.’”
Affleck continued, ‘Who would you like to play your mom?’ And he said, ‘It has to be Viola Davis.’”
The actress also shared how she researched her role by watching old videos of Deloris, who is now 81 years old, and admitted to feeling “the fear” of getting the performance right.
“I use the term zen neutrality with her. Someone who just moves calmly through life, making major decisions, slaying dragons, making dreams come true. But doing it calmly and succinctly. Yeah, that’s not me,” Davis said.