CANNES — Stellan Skarsgård (“Nymphomaniac”) and up-and-comer Sverrir Gudnason (“Monica Z”) will star opposite Shia LaBeouf (“American Honey”) in “Borg vs McEnroe” directed by popular Danish helmer Janus Metz Pederson (“Armadillo,””True Detective”).
Gudnason will star as Swedish tennis icon Bjorn Borg while LaBeouf will topline as John McEnroe. Skarsgård will play Borg’s coach.
The project, which starts shooting in August, chronicles the 1980 Wimbledon final and sheds light on the two tennis stars’ complex relationship and rivalry.
Tre Vanner and SF Studios are producing the project, which Svensk is shopping at Cannes.
Gudnason and LaBoeuf have been training for two months for the part.
Gudnason and LaBoeuf were on hand at Cannes with Metz Pederson and screenwriter Ronnie Sandahl to discuss the project at the Film i Vast press conference.
LaBoeuf pointed out the script was brilliant. “We are all here because of that. I cried the first time I read it. It’s not based on a book, or a biography. It’s based on hard work,” said the actor, who was also in Cannes for the world premiere of Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey” which competed.
“It’s a story that looks at how an icon becomes the mask that people make it out to be and what’s behind that mask and what the price of wearing that mask is,” said Pederson. “It’s also about two people fighting a friendship in the understanding that the player on the other side of the net, their worst enemies, their worst rivals, are the only one who understands what they’re both going through.”
Added Sandahl, “It’s not a sport movie as such. It’s a drama about human beings that takes place in the arena of sports. We need to make tennis feel real, authentic, visceral and we’re working very hard.”