Coming off The Last Duel, which reunited Ben Affleck and Matt Damon not only as co-stars but also as co-writers (along with Nicole Holofcener), Affleck and Damon are working together once again, this time on a movie about Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, the man who built the indelible and then-revolutionary relationship between Nike and Michael Jordan. Damon will star as Vaccaro while Affleck once again takes the supporting role as Nike co-founder Phil Knight, and both men will write and produce the film together. And for the first time, Affleck will direct Damon, which he has never done before in their collaborations. Affleck actually hasn’t directed a film since 2016’s blah Live By Night, and a movie about a guy who brokers a big-time business deal is a long way from the crime dramas Affleck is known for (The Town is on Netflix, it holds up). So not only is Ben Affleck directing Matt Damon for the first time, but he’s also taking on a new genre.
Vaccaro’s story has previously been told in a 30 for 30 called Sole Man, and the key to the drama is that back in the 1980s, Nike was an also-ran shoe company. It was the blockbuster deal Vaccaro made with Michael Jordan that turned Nike into the top-flight brand it is today. In an interesting twist, Jordan won’t be featured on screen in the dramatization Affleck and Damon are now making (they’re rewriting an existing script by Alex Convery). Instead, the film will focus on Vaccaro trying to get to Jordan through his friends and family, including his “powerful, dynamic mother”, so I guess that’s the next big role in the film.
This project sounds fine, I guess. I dimly remember Sole Man being sort of interesting because of the impact this deal had on sports and the shoe industry, it basically invented modern sneaker culture. But never ever forget that Damon and Affleck are sitting on the rights to the McMillions story and they COULD be making the movie about Agent Doug Bazooka and the colorful criminals who ripped of McDonald’s in the 1990s and THEY’RE NOT.