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Hollywood bad boy Shia LaBeouf has signed on to play tennis bad boy John McEnroe in Borg/McEnroe, an upcoming biopic about one of the greatest sports rivalries of all time.
Borg/McEnroe will trace the long-running battle for supremacy in the tennis world in the 1970s and 1980s between McEnroe and Swedish star Bjorn Borg.
Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason (A Serious Game) will play Borg. Stellan Skarsgard has signed on to play Borg’s coach Lennart Bergelin.
Danish director Janus Metz, whose war documentary Armadillo won the grand prize at Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2010, will direct.
The cool, emotionless Borg and the wild, tantrum-throwing McEnroe faced each other 14 times on the professional tennis tour between 1978 and 1981, each winning seven of their matches. Their two Wimbledon finals, in 1980 and 1981, are considered among the greatest ever in the sport.
Sweden’s SF Studios and Film Vast will co-produce Borg/McEnroe together with Swedish Television and Yellow Film & TV. SF Studios is handling international sales of the film in Cannes.
LaBeouf and Gudnason turned up in Cannes to promote the project. LaBeouf is also in town for Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, which premieres in Cannes’ competition on Sunday.
Shooting on Borg/McEnroe is set to begin this fall in Sweden, London, Monaco and New York for a planned 2017 delivery. Ronnie Sandahl (Underdog) will pen the script.
“This is a very powerful drama that plunges deep into the minds of two extremely interesting personalities living in an explosive era. I am very honored and excited to be at the reigns of it”, Metz said.
LaBeouf is represented by CAA and John Crosby Management; Gudnason, Stellan Skarsgard and Sandahl by Agentfirman Planthaber/Kilden/Mandic; and Metz by CAA and Cinetic.