Viola Davis felt "very flattered" and "deeply moved" to be asked to play Michael Jordan's mum in 'Air'.

Viola Davis felt flattered to have been offered the role of Michael Jordan's mum in Air

Viola Davis felt flattered to have been offered the role of Michael Jordan's mum in Air

The Hollywood actress signed up to play Deloris Jordan in Ben Affleck's new movie which details the basketball legend's hugely successful partnership with sportswear giant Nike after Jordan himself put her name forward - and Viola admits 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."

The movie's director Ben Affleck 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 realised: '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."

'Air' also stars Matt Damon, Chris Tucker and Jason Bateman with Viola Davis as Deloris and Affleck as Nike boss Phil Knight. It hits cinemas in April.