Based on actual events, Danish director Janus Metz Pedersen’s tennis thriller Borg/McEnroe will open the 13th Zurich Film Festival on September 28, 2017. Director Janus Metz Pedersen and Björn Borg-actor Sverrir Gudnason will attend as the Zurich Film Festival’s honorary guests.
Wimbledon, July 5, 1980: tennis pros Björn Borg and John McEnroe square up at the Wimbledon final for one of sporting history’s most legendary duels. The 24-year-old Swede and world’s number one ranked tennis player (Sverrir Gudnason) is feeling exhausted and burned out. The 20-year-old New Yorker (Shia LaBeouf) is determined to beat him. The two opponents go on to deliver a nerve-racking and grinding battle in one of the most suspense-packed matches in tennis history.
Said ZFF Co-Directors Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri: „We are extremely proud to be opening the ZFF for the first time with a Swedish production. Borg/McEnroe is one of the year’s most hotly anticipated movies and is sure to delight cinemagoers around the globe.” They continued: “Borg/McEnroe is most definitely not a film just for tennis fans, but a thrilling cinema experience for everybody.”The Swede Björn Borg and US American John McEnroe are two of the tennis world’s greatest legends – and their on-court rivalry is just as legendary. Borg/McEnroe depicts the two tennis icons as they prepare for the Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon. Borg is desperate to leave his mark as the winner of five titles in a row. His opponent is the ambitious young McEnroe, who is only driven by the thought of finally knocking Borg off his throne.
While Borg prepares for the duel aided by his trainer Lennart Bergelin (Stellan Skarsgård), McEnroe continues to hit newspaper headlines. But despite the difference in their personalities, the two men come to realise that they have more in common than they could possibly have imagined.
Björn Borg and John McEnroe played each other a total of 14 times between 1978 and 1981. Their on-court rivalry was famous the world over and compounded by the competitors’ conflicting personalities: while Borg remained cool and placid, McEnroe was famous for his fits of temper.
Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf undertook two months of intensive tennis training in order to lend their characters more authenticity. The movie was shot in Borg’s hometown of Södertälje near Stockholm in Sweden, and further in Gothenburg, Stockholm, Prague, London and Monaco.
Distributed by Ascot Elite, Borg/McEnroe hits cinemas in Switzerland on October 12.
The full ZFF programme will be unveiled at the Festival press conference on Thursday 14 September.