Shia LaBeouf has officially signed on to portray the emotionally explosive tennis player John McEnroe in the Borg vs. McEnroe biopic. The film will follow the tumultuous journey of tennis legends John McEnroe and rival Bjorn Borg.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 14, 2016
McEnroe was infamously known for being an untamed, “loose cannon”, and his rival Bjorn Borg maintained a reputation of being “cool” and nearly emotionless. This will prove to be an interesting role for Shia LaBeouf, as both men share equally heated tempers. McEnroe and Borg squared off in an incredible 14 matches between 1978 and 1981, with both athletes winning seven matches each.
“Jake is me, and so is McEnroe…I understand these people, I empathize with them. I get it. You turn things up and turn things down. It’s me.”
John McEnroe’s most famous outburst happened in 1984, during a Tennis match in Stockholm. During this time, McEnroe screamed at the referee, “Answer my question!” calling him a “jerk” and violently smashing his tennis racquet against the snack stand. Shia LaBeouf should be epic in this role.
The two tennis champs reached the Wimbledon finals in 1980 and 1981, which have been considered some of the greatest events in the sports history. ESPN’s countdown show called it the “best Wimbledon final.” This was the first final of McEnroe against Borg, and the latter was eager to win his fifth Wimbledon final in a row. However, during the beginning of the final, McEnroe was booed by the entire crowd. McEnroe had a super heated exchange with officials over a previous victory (with Jimmy Connors).
Stellan Skarsgard will portray Borg’s coach, Lennart Bergelin. The film, which is set to begin this fall in Sweden, London, Monaco, and New York will follow their climb to the top and the intense rivalry between the professional tennis players. Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason has been casted as the famous rival. John McEnroe is a former Captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, and becomes a part of five Cup-winning teams.
Shia LaBeouf: American Honey Press Conference At Cannes Film Festival
The harsh press surrounding Shia LaBeouf’s career varies from McEnroe due to LaBeouf’s having more conflict within his personal life. Shia LaBeouf and girlfriend Mia Goth met in 2012 while filming on the set of Nymphomanicac: Vol. 11 when she was 18-years-old. Recently, the couple was captured in a heated confrontation while vacationing in Germany.
“I don’t want to touch her, I don’t want to be aggressive, this is the kinda s—t that makes a person abusive.”
The Borg/McEnroe film is set for delivery in 2017. In the meantime, Shia says he’s working on his tennis game, telling The Hollywood Reporter his backhand is “getting there.” Critics opposing Shia LaBeouf’s performance in American Honey, have said it’s been a while since LaBeouf has done anything notable as an actor, even hoping LaBeouf will learn a few lessons from McEnroe’s career.
In 2005, Shia LaBeouf was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon,
“Shia [LaBeouf] began honking his horn and yelling at the guy, but the neighbor told him to wait a minute, and carried on talking to his girlfriend. Then Shia rammed his car into the back of the other guy’s car. Words were exchanged and Shia jumped out and threatened the neighbor.”
Sweden’s SF Studios and Film Vast will co-produce Borg vs. McEnroe together in conjunction with Swedish Television and Yellow Film & TV. SF Studios is handling international sales of the soon-to-be-released film in Cannes.
Will Shia LaBeouf diving into the role of a troubled tennis star prove to be harmful or helpful to the aggressive actor?
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]