Borg vs McEnroe
|Borg vs McEnroe|
|Directed by||Janus Metz Pedersen|
|Written by||Ronnie Sandahl|
|Distributed by||Nordisk Film|
|Budget||65 million SEK|
|Box office||$3.3 million|
Borg vs McEnroe (Swedish: Borg, Finnish: Borg/McEnroe), also known as Borg McEnroe, is a 2017 biographical sports drama film focusing on the famous professional rivalry between tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships, culminating in their encounter in the men's singles final, one of the most dramatic tennis matches of all time. The film, a production between Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, is directed by Janus Metz Pedersen, from a screenplay written by Ronnie Sandahl, and stars Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny, and Robert Emms. The film opened the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
Disciplined tennis champion Björn Borg prepares for a competition against abrasive American John McEnroe.
- Sverrir Gudnason as Björn Borg:
- A Swedish former world no. 1 tennis player. Screenwriter Ronnie Sandahl stated in interviews with Swedish newspapers Expressen and Sydsvenskan that Sverrir "looks very much like the Swedish tennis star". In an interview, Gudnason talked about his preparation for the part, and stated that he "spent six months in which he trained 15 hours a week, with two hours of tennis and four workouts with a personal trainer." He also revealed that he had not met Borg, stating "not yet, but I will meet him, sometime after the shooting of the film." Leo Borg, the real-life son of Björn Borg, portrays his father from age 9 to 13, while actor Markus Mossberg portrays him from age 14 to 17.
- Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe:
- An American former world no. 1 professional tennis player and Borg's rival. Sandahl stated in an interview that it was LaBeouf that made contact with the production when he heard about the script, because he "identifies strongly with the character of McEnroe, and felt that he is a misunderstood person." In an interview with Variety, Shia praised the script and called it "brilliant", and said that he "cried when reading it for the first time." He also revealed that he has not met with McEnroe about the role, stating "haven't met him yet, but I'm eager to meet him before we shoot. I got nothing but love and respect for him."
- Stellan Skarsgård as Lennart Bergelin:
- A retired Swedish tennis player and Borg's coach. This is his first role in a Swedish film since he starred in the films Arn – The Knight Templar and Arn – The Kingdom at Road's End. Skarsgård described and compared the relationship between Bergelin and Borg to the rivalry between Mozart and Salieri in the 1984 film Amadeus: "people think that Salieri was jealous of Mozart, but I do not think that's the right word. I think it's more an utter fascination and love of the genius. And the self-doubt that you are not capable."
- Tuva Novotny as Mariana Simionescu: A Romanian tennis player and Borg's fiancée.
- Robert Emms as Vitas Gerulaitis: An American professional tennis player with a playboy lifestyle.
- Jason Forbes as Arthur Ashe
- Björn Granath as Bengt Grive
- Scott Arthur as Peter Fleming
- Tom Datnow as Jimmy Connors
- Jane Perry as Kay McEnroe, John's mother
- Thomas Hedengran as Lennart Hyland
In May 2016, a film about tennis rivals Björn Borg and John McEnroe was in development. Janus Metz Pedersen was chosen to direct the film, from a screenplay written by Swedish writer Ronnie Sandahl. He is mostly known for directing the 2010 documentary film Armadillo and one episode of the HBO drama True Detective. The film was produced by Jon Nohrstedt, who produced the Swedish animated film Bamse and the Thief City, and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro, who is most known for producing the 2010 film Easy Money. The film is distributed by Nordisk Film in Scandinavia and internationally by SF Studios.
In May 2016, Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf were cast as Björn Borg and John McEnroe, respectively. In an interview with Variety at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, LaBeouf was excited about the script and working with Scandinavian directors, stating, "They make better movies. Scandinavian film making is different. It's a different pace, a different relationship between the crew—the bonds are different". Stellan Skarsgård had been cast as Borg's coach Lennart Bergelin, which is his first role in a Swedish film in several years. Tuva Novotny and Robert Emms had joined the cast as Mariana Simionescu and Vitas Gerulaitis, respectively.
The filming began in August 2016, and took place in Gothenburg, Prague, London, and Monaco. Filming also took place in Borg's hometown of Södertälje, where he grew up, and started playing tennis as a child. The production has recreated the Studio 54 nightclub at a studio in Gothenburg. The tennis arena Štvanice in Prague, stands in for the Centre Court arena in Wimbledon, London, where they shot the finals of the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. Gudnason described that he felt "a huge sense of authenticity, when I [he] and Shia walked from the changing room to what [was] supposed to look like the Centre Court arena, before hundreds of extras".
Borg vs McEnroe opened the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, concurrent with its Swedish theatrical release. It was released in the UK on September 22, and was released in the U.S. 13 April 2018.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 84%, based on 143 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 30 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Peter Debruge of Variety magazine praised director Janus Metz: "When the big tennis finale arrives, Metz finds all sorts of ways to make the match interesting, blending urgent music, creative camera vantages and ridiculously hyperbolic announcer commentary to generate the desired tension. But the real reason we’re invested is far simpler than that: Metz and his cast have made us care about both Borg and McEnroe by this point."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result||Ref.|
|Camerimage International Film Festival||11–18 November 2017||Best Directorial Debut||Janus Metz Pedersen||Won|||
|Guldbagge Awards||22 January 2018||Best Film||Jon Nohrstedt and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro (Producers)||Nominated|||
|Best Director||Janus Metz Pedersen||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Sverrir Gudnason||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Shia LaBeouf||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Per Sandholt and Per K Kirkegaard||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Kicki Ilander||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Jonas Struck, Jon Ekstrand and Vladislav Delay||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Lina Nordqvist||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Torbjörn Olsson and Alex Hansson||Won|
|Noordelijk Film Festival||12 November 2017||Public Prize||Borg McEnroe||Won|||
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