Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reuniting again, this time for the true story of former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro in a feature film project that will come from Amazon Studios and Skydance Sports, who are finalizing their deal.
Affleck will direct, write, co-star and executive produce the untitled sports marketing drama, while Damon will also star, write and executive produce. Mandalay Pictures, the banner run by Peter Guber and Jason Michael Berman, will also produce.
Damon will portray Vaccaro while Affleck will play Nike co-founder Phil Knight in a story about Nike’s long-running effort to sign rising superstar basketball player Michael Jordan to a mid-’80s shoe deal, an endorsement which seemed impossible at the time but, thanks to the maverick sneaker salesman, would become the single most important relationship between a sports brand and an athlete, launching the global multi-billion dollar contemporary sneaker industry.
The story will focus on Vaccaro’s relentless quest to sign Jordan to what was then the third shoe company, a journey that took him to Jordan’s parents, and in particular his powerful and dynamic mother, as well as to former coaches, advisers and friends. . Jordan will be a mythical figure hovering above the film and never seen, even if Vaccaro tries to reach him by accessing his loved ones.
The key to the proceedings is ESPN 2015 30 for 30 documentary titled Lonely man, centered on Vaccaro. Skydance Sports President Jon Weinbach, who served alongside Mandalay President Guber as one of the producers of ESPN Films’ Emmy-winning series Jordan the last dancewas integral to obtaining Vaccaro’s rights to life.
Weinbach worked with the footwear industry veteran when he co-directed Lonely man now with Skydance Sports Senior Vice President Dan Marks. Mandalay first picked up the original script, purchased by Vice President Jordan Moldo, titled air jordan and written by Alex Convery, then brought the project to Weinbach at Skydance Sports.
Affleck and Damon are currently reworking the script for the project, which will be the first major feature from David Ellison’s new Skydance Sports division. Skydance already has a connection to the sports world through its investor RedBird Capital.
The project will mark Affleck’s first time directing a feature film starring his longtime friend, Damon. The famous two won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for Goodwill hunting, which starred Damon and had Affleck in a supporting role and was directed by Gus Van Sant. The couple also reunited last year to The last duel directed by Ridley Scott, with Damon again starring and Affleck in a supporting role.
Convery is a regular on the Blacklist, with his screenplay Men’s Bag land on the 2018 list and its biopic on Stan Lee Excelsior! listed on the 2020 list. It is replaced by UTA and Grandview.
Affleck and Damon are replaced by WME.