Janus Metz signs Björn Borg's son to play the tennis star in Borg
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- The biopic starring Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf by the Danish filmmaker is on its way from Sweden's SF Studios
UPDATE (21 October 2016): 13-year old Leo, the youngest son of Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg, will take on the role of his father between the ages of nine and 13 in Janus Metz’s biopic about the tennis ace, Borg (formerly known as Borg/McEnroe), which is currently being produced by Sweden's SF Studios in Sweden, Prague, London and Monaco. As the titular character ages, the role will be played by Swedish actors Markus Mossberg (14-17 years old) and Sverrir Gudnason (from then on). Described as "a film about how legends were formed out of rivalry, friendship, and glamour, in a time when everything was possible", it follows Borg from when he made the journey from Södertälje , just outside Stockholm, to the world's tennis elite. Sirena Film (Czech Republic) has also joined the film’s production. Nordisk will handle local release in the autumn of 2017, and SF Studios will be in charge of international sales.
Swedish major SF Studios (formerly Svensk Filmindustri) will continue its new strategy of producing “commercial, high-quality films for the international market” with Borg/McEnroe, about one of the world’s greatest tennis icons, Sweden’s Björn Borg, and his biggest rival, US player John McEnroe. SF Studios will co-produce the film with Swedish regional film centre Film Väst, Nordisk Film, Swedish pubcaster SVT and Yellow Film & TV.
“The story of two men who became legends and the price they had to pay” is the tagline of the film, which Danish director Janus Metz announced at the Cannes Film Festival. “Borg/McEnroe is an incredibly strong history that runs deep in two extremely dynamic personalities, set during a tumultuous time in their lives,” said Metz, whose 2010 documentary Armadillo [+see also:
interview: Janus Metz, director of Arm…
film profile] won eight international awards, including the top prize in the Critics’ Week at Cannes.
Award-winning Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason (twice awarded at the Guldbagges, Sweden’s national film prize) will play Borg, while US actor Shia LaBeouf, who most recently appeared in British director Andrea Arnold’s American Honey [+see also:
Q&A: Andrea Arnold
film profile] at Cannes, will be McEnroe. Stellan Skarsgård will return to a Swedish film after a ten-year absence, playing Borg’s trainer Lennart "Labbe" Bergelin and Tuva Novotny will play his girlfriend Mariana.
Produced by Jon Nohrstedt and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro, the film has been scripted by Swedish writer-director Ronnie Sandahl (the director of Underdog [+see also:
interview: Ronnie Sandahl
film profile]), who has been working on the project for three years. “I have been trying to write my way under the skin of the two rivals, and what has emerged is a drama of two young men with the weight of the world on their shoulders, forced to realise that your worst enemy may also be the only one who truly gets you,” he explained.
Borg won five Wimbledons and six French Opens. In London, he fought McEnroe several times, including in his most difficult finale, in 1980.