John McEnroe, the tennis star who won seven Grand Slam singles titles and earned a reputation as being the superbrat of tennis, has questioned the authenticity of the forthcoming biopic Borg vs. McEnroe, starring Shia LaBeouf.
The movie, which is currently shooting, chronicles the famous rivalry between McEnroe, played by LaBeouf, and the Swedish tennis champion Bjorn Borg, played by Sverrir Gudnason.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, McEnroe expressed concern about the filmmakers’ lack of contact with either tennis player to get their take on their lives and the tennis match depicted in the film.
“I don’t know if they are planning on doing the whole movie without input or any type of arrangement from me or Bjorn. I haven’t seen anything, and they’ve already started the movie.”
— Duncan Bradley (@duncanEbradley) September 23, 2016
McEnroe insinuated that the biopic would be more authentic if the filmmakers talked to the players themselves and those who knew them during their heyday.
“It doesn’t seem like they are all that interested in talking with me. I don’t know how you can do it without ever meeting me. Maybe you could talk to a few of my friends. I can barely remember what I was like 36 years ago when I was 21 years old.”
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) September 20, 2016
The 57-year-old tennis player didn’t seem to be opposed to the film but is hoping that it is done well.
“It could be entertaining. If it’s good, it’d be cool. Let’s hope.”
McEnroe said he is concerned with how well LaBeouf and Gudnason will pull off being tennis players, noting that they look like “actors who can’t play.”
“It’s difficult even for tennis players to re-enact what they did. So how in the hell is an actor going to do it on a court? It looks fake. They look like actors who can’t play. You see these guys, they go out there and they barely even know how to play tennis. Hopefully they’re focusing on stuff off the court. Unless they intertwine it [with] real footage. Then it would be cool, maybe.”
He may have a point since the movie focuses on the epic 1980 Wimbledon championship match between McEnroe and Borg.
An entire film based on a single tennis match may prove difficult to pull off by two actors that aren’t necessarily known for their athleticism.
To prepare for the role, LaBeouf trained for two months and reportedly read McEnroe’s autobiography.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 21, 2016
The Vanity Fair article noted one difference between Hollywood and real-life. Photos captured during filming show LaBeouf playing with his right hand. McEnroe is famous for being a lefty.
The film, directed by Danish director Janus Metz Pedersen of True Detective fame and written by Ronnie Sandahl, began shooting in August.
Despite his reservation, McEnroe said he is withholding judgment until he sees the final product. Still, he said he would be surprised if it turned out how he would hope.
“I’ve never seen a good tennis movie. They all were terrible.”
— The Politic Manager (@TPoliticmanager) September 23, 2016
McEnroe and Borg could not have been more different in their personalities and how they played tennis. The fiery, passionate, and vocal McEnroe, known as an expert serve and volley player, was the complete opposite of the quiet, stoic, baseline-playing Swede. The rival players thrilled tennis fans the world over and provided many hours of exciting tennis, according to the New York Times.
Bitter rivals in the past, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg remain the best of friends to this day.
[Featured Image by Claude Paris/AP Images]