Matt Damon compares Viola Davis to Marlon Brando
Matt Damon has compared Viola Davis' acting in 'Air' to Marlon Brando.
The 57-year-old actress stars as Michael Jordan's mother in Ben Affleck's new movie and both Ben and co-star Matt were hugely impressed by Viola.
Ben told Entertainment Weekly: "It’s easy to [act] opaque — ‘I’m not going to show you anything'. 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."
Matt added: "That’s masterful acting. 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."
Viola signed up to play Deloris Jordan in the movie which details basketball legend Jordan's hugely successful partnership with sportswear giant Nike after he put her name forward - and Viola has admitted she couldn't resist the challenge.
She told The Hollywood Reporter: "Mothers are the most important figures in anybody’s life, so I was very flattered and deeply moved to be asked to play Michael’s mother.
"I know Michael Jordan but didn’t know that Deloris brokered this deal to get him a huge stake in the shoe and in turn, protected her son’s legacy. I wanted to know more about this woman who had the strength and courage to fight for her son’s worth. For Deloris to have this insight and progressive vision, to stand her ground in the negotiation room – which I know can be the hardest part of the job – makes her an incredible woman. That made me lean into this project."
Ben previously admitted the part of Deloris was initially quite small until he met with Jordan and was told how she helped broker the deal that produced his Air Jordans range. The sports legend then asked Ben to cast Viola in the role - prompting a rewrite of the script to make the part much bigger.
Ben explained to THR: "He actually talked about his mom, who wasn’t really in the script. That’s when I understood what the movie was. Talking to him about his mom was incredibly moving, and I went: 'Oh, this isn’t about Nike'.
"I said: 'So, do you have any ideas about who would …?' ... I knew who he was going to say because it was the same person that I’ve wanted to direct for so long ... I’m thinking: 'Oh my God, he wants me to offer this to Viola Davis. How am I going to offer Viola Davis a movie with one line? That’s not going to happen.' "But he was like: 'That’s my mom'. He was dead serious. 'Viola Davis, that’s my mom.' And that was it. Discussion was over."