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Biographical film on John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg rivalry set to enthral tennis fans

The upcoming Swedish biographical film ‘Borg vs McEnroe’ is slated for release in September. The movie will depict the rivalry of tennis’ two greats - John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.

tennis Updated: Jul 05, 2017 14:25 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
John McEnroe,Bjorn Borg,Borg vs McEnroe
A film is going to be made on the rivalry of tennis greats John McEnroe (L) and Bjorn Borg (C).(AFP)

A trailer for the upcoming ‘Borg vs McEnroe’ has been launched with the expected release date of the upcoming Swedish biographical film being September 14.

The film focuses on the famous rivalry on the tennis court, and off it, between two iconic players -- Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

While Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason is playing the role of Borg, the part of McEnroe is being portrayed by Shia LaBeouf. The film is directed by Janus Metz Pedersen and also stars Stellan Skarsgard.

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Interestingly, McEnroe had revealed that he did not have any contact with LaBeouf as he prepared to play him on-screen.

“Supposedly (LaBeouf is) crazy. So maybe that works. I’ve never talked to him, so I don’t know how he could play me. 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,” McEnroe was quoted as saying by NME.

“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. It could be entertaining. If it’s good, it’d be cool. Let’s hope.”

McEnroe did not sound too happy in his early observations after watching the trailer.

“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 said.

‘The film is largely played in Prague’, reported Swedish website Expressen.

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Gudnason is said to have trained for 15 hours a week for learning to play tennis.

He said, “In the beginning, I had a lot of pain in the body, but then I came across a threshold, and since then I have not been hurt at all. I’ve played tennis two hours a day five days a week, and practiced with one PT one hour a day, so a total of 15 hours a week. I have never started a role so physically before, says the actor.”

Gudnason was selected for the role as he looks uncannily similar to Borg, says screenwriter of the movie Ronnie Sandahl.

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“It looks like he has been cloned out of stem cells from Björn Borg. In addition to the outer attributes of the forehead, hair and beard stub, he has also managed to capture Borg’s body language: the slightly strange walking style The intense hawk and the obscene charismatic smile that he always left off the track,” wrote Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish daily.

First Published: Jul 05, 2017 14:25 IST