Toronto film fest to open with ‘Borg-McEn­roe’ biopic

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

TORONTO — Toronto’s In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val served up an ace Mon­day, an­nounc­ing it would open with a movie de­pict­ing the epic ri­valry between ten­nis leg­ends Bjorn Borg and John McEn­roe.

The pre­miere of Borg/ McEn­roe, which stars Shia LaBeouf as McEn­roe and Sver­rir Gud­na­son as Borg, re-en­acts the leg­endary on-court bat­tles between the volatile Amer­i­can and his cu­cum­ber-cool Swedish ri­val.

“The story of this nail-biter matchup changed the sport of ten­nis forever, and the out­stand­ing per­for­mances from LaBeouf and Gud­na­son will be a spec­tac­u­lar way for fes­ti­val­go­ers to kick things off,” says TIFF direc­tor, Piers Han­dling.

The film, which will open North Amer­ica’s largest film fes­ti­val on Sept 7, is a change in scenery for direc­tor Janus Metz, whose award-win­ning doc­u­men­tary Ar­madillo fo­cused on Dan­ish troops serv­ing in Afghanistan.

LaBeouf, who last month was forced to pub­licly apol­o­gize af­ter be­ing ar­rested for drunken be­hav­ior at a ho­tel in Georgia, plays the US ten­nis star fa­mous for his tantrums and curly mop of hair.

McEn­roe fre­quently clashed on court with the Swede, whose cool com­po­sure pro­vided a stark con­trast in their face-offs in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They played 14 times in all — each won seven times.

“The on-court scenes have the dy­namism of a street bat­tle, and the drama peels back lay­ers from what we know about both play­ers,” says the fes­ti­val’s artis­tic direc­tor, Cameron Bai­ley.

“This was more than a sim­ple con­flict pit­ting an icy Euro­pean against an im­pul­sive Amer­i­can. Au­di­ences are in for one hell of a show­down.”

Borg/McEn­roe is the sec­ond ten­nis movie on the TIFF sched­ule. Bat­tle of the Sexes, the story of ten­nis leg­end Bil­lie Jean King’s show­down with Bobby Riggs, star­ring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, is also in the lineup.

The Toronto film fes­ti­val, which runs this year through Sept 17, has be­come a launch­pad for Os­car-con­scious stu­dios and dis­trib­u­tors, at­tract­ing hun­dreds of film­mak­ers and ac­tors to the red car­pet in Canada’s largest city.

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