Matt Damon Compares Viola Davis’ ‘Air’ Performance to Marlon Brando

Michael Jordan isn't the only celebrity who approves of Davis' performance.
Matt Damon and Viola Davis
Matt Damon and Viola Davis
Getty Images

Air” hasn’t even hit theaters yet, but Ben Affleck’s upcoming drama about Nike’s pursuit of Michael Jordan already feels like one of the feel-good stories of the year. It’s the film that reminded the world of Affleck’s serious directorial talents after his decade-spanning DC debacle. It’s given him an excuse to enjoy a bromance-filled press tour with his co-star and longtime friend Matt Damon.

And it’s the movie that taught the world Michael Jordan has great taste in films after he hand-picked Viola Davis to play his mother, Deloris Jordan.

And the basketball legend isn’t the only one who appreciates Davis’ work in the film. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Affleck and Damon both heaped praise on her performance.

“It’s easy to [act] opaque — ‘I’m not going to show you anything,'” Affleck said of Davis’ role. “It’s extremely difficult to be opaque and have the sense that there’s an enormous amount of feeling inside, you just don’t know what it is. It makes you want to lean in even closer, and that is as good as acting gets.”

Damon took things a step further by comparing Davis’ subtle acting in the film to one of the greatest actors of all time.

“That’s masterful acting,” Damon said. “That’s what Brando did, right? It’s not doing nothing, it’s the opposite of doing nothing. You present it as if you’re doing nothing, but everything in the world is happening right underneath, and it’s awesome.”

Damon and Affleck are certainly not alone in their appreciation for Davis’ performance. “Air” has received consistently positive reviews, with many critics singling out Davis as one of the film’s high points.

“Davis brings such a large amount of warmth and strength to playing Deloris Jordan, a woman who knew her son’s worth and fought for him to get his share of the pie,” Marisa Mirabal wrote in her IndieWire review of the film. “Subtle yet stern, her performance evokes such empathy and class as Deloris navigates the business deals proposed to her and her adoring husband. On several occasions, her presence on screen has the tendency to give audiences goosebumps because of just how perfectly she honors Mrs. Jordan and how she carries herself knowing that her son is a legend whose impact to the game will be forever lifechanging. It’s all quite beautiful.”

“Air” opens in theaters on Wednesday, April 5.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.