Nike shoe lab where conceptualist Peter Moore [not pictured], Sonny Vaccaro [Matt Damon] and Rob Strasser [Jason Bateman] come up with the prototype for the Michael Jordan AIR basketball shoe line. Inset: The shoe. Images courtesy of Amazon Studios.
“From award-winning director Ben Affleck, AIR reveals the unbelievable game-changing partnership between a then rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division which revolutionized the world of sports and contemporary culture with the Air Jordan brand. This moving story follows the career-defining gamble of an unconventional team with everything on the line, the uncompromising vision of a mother who knows the worth of her son’s immense talent, and the basketball phenom who would become the greatest of all time.” –Amazon Studios
During the Inside the Set conversation, François notes, “The way that Ben works is that he has a C-camera shooting extreme close up, throughout the entire 22,000 square foot set. So the thing that Jan did, with her team, that I think is extraordinary, is that every desk is completely dressed and is able to be photographed in extreme close-up, and also has a story behind the employee who is assigned to that desk...They all have personality plus authentic details from the company. Ben wanted details...He wanted ephemera that spoke specifically to 1984 on every desk, and then when we did that, he wanted more! And Jan made that happen.”
The team created a huge, multi-floor Nike headquarters, with several bullpens. Here, the Basketball Division bullpen, each desk reflecting the individual who works at it. Courtesy of Amazon Studios.
Basketball video tape room. Sonny works out of here, viewing scouting and game tapes, searching for the ideal future Nike signature sports figure. For accuracy, Jan’s team had over hand-labeled 1000 tapes. Courtesy of Amazon Studios.
Behind-the-scenes: Rob Stasser’s office, Nike headquarters. Note the ‘tape roll” and drill, plus other set dresser equipment. Jan and François have so many great stories re: these sets! You really must see the Inside the Set video!
Behind-the-scenes: Nike headquarters Executive bullpen. Jan points out that François turned the location’s existing chrome banister & stairwell trim into an elegant brass and glass signature statement, which gave her the stepping off point for the décor of the entire space. Note: Set dressers and equipment in the background.
Nike Co-founder and CEO Phil Knight’s office. Watch the video to see the one photo that served as reference for Jan in making this as accurate as possible, and the lengths she and her team went to, i.e. those are real one-off vintage Nike shoes...
“I think that our colleagues and people who do this, respect how difficult it is,” notes François. “It's difficult to make a movie about people-in-offices talking-in-offices interesting...visually interesting. And it's also very difficult to make a movie set in the '80s not clichéd or not distracting.” They did it!
Adidas headquarters, conference room. François imparts, “This is a conference room, but also kind of a museum, with all of this history of Adidas in these bespoke cases. And the sculpture...Ben encouraged me to just go a little big and not be beholden to the reality. He wanted to create more of a caricature, and have a little more fun in that moment. So we did have a lot of fun with that set.” And he gives details in the video!
Converse headquarters, conference room. When a location’s round conference table suddenly became unavailable, Jan had this one made.
Nike headquarters conference room. Jan points out, “This was the hero conference room where they make the deal with Michael Jordan.” And there’s so much more to this story from both Jan & François! You really must see the video!
As David Smith put it, “It's back to trusting your instincts or knowing when things are right...”
That was the message of this film, and the process for Jan and François in helping create it.
Editor''s note: Jan would like to acknowledge the SDSA Business Members with whom she worked to make the impossible possible:
WARNER BROS STUDIOS PROPERTY & DRAPERY/UPHOLSTERY | ADVANCED LIQUIDATORS OFFICE FURNITURE AND STUDIO RENTALS| U-FRAME-IT GALLERY | THE ALPHA COMPANIES MOTION PICTURE RENTALS | HAND PROP ROOM | ASTEK WALLCOVERING | HISTORY FOR HIRE | LENNIE MARVIN'S PROPHEAVEN | PLAYBACK TECHNOLOGIES, INC | PRACTICAL PROPS | RC VINTAGE | AMCO AMERICAN SCREEN& WINDOW COVERINGS INC | THE DESIGNER FABRIC STUDIO (ATL) | FAUX LIBRARY STUDIO PROPS | HOLLYWOOD STUDIO GALLERY | OMEGA CINEMA PROPS | GREEN SET | UNIVERSAL STUDIOS PROPERTY
And her crew who aided and abetted and were simply wonderful:
Lead: TONY ANDRAUS
Assistant Set Decorator: JONI INDURSKY SDSA
Additional Set Decorator: DAVID SMITH SDSA
Buyer: CARRELL SHAW
Key Gang Boss: KATIE GAUVIN
Gang Boss: NICK ZEPATOS
On-Set Dresser: ZANDER FIESCHKO
Set Dec Coordinator: DARLENE SALINAS
Set Dec PA: MAGDIEL CARRANZA
Help from this team in Texas sending us furniture:
Set Decorator GABBY VILLAREAL & Lead JOHN MILLARD