The Schmooze

Why Casting Shia LeBeouf As A Raging Tennis Star Was A Brilliant Move

“Borg/McEnroe” is perhaps one of the most anticipated movies premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Starring Shia LeBeouf as John McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason as Björn Borg, “Borg/McEnroe” details the fierce tennis rivalry (“Fire and Ice,” “IceBorg versus Superbrat”) that captivated the world in the 1980 Wimbledon Championships.

LaBeouf has become as infamous for his volatile behavior as he is famous for his acting career, having been arrested at his January 2017 anti-Trump art installation and faced charges of drunk driving and disorderly conduct in the past.

So casting LeBeouf as the hot-tempered McEnroe seems like some kind of kismet. LeBeouf, for his part, seems to genuinely respect McEnroe and wants to do justice to the icon, and discussed getting into character with Deadline:

“When he entered the game, it was a power sport,” said LaBeouf. “Borg brought touch and feel that wasn’t in the game. It wasn’t screaming rage. McEnroe used screaming rage as tactic, to manufacture his intensity to hype himself up. In that way, he’s an artist.”

For the record, John McEnroe is not totally on board with the movie:

So what are the critics saying about “Borg/McEnroe”? While the movie doesn’t have a set release date yet, let’s take a look at how people are receiving this fictionalization of one of the most memorable sports moments in history.

John deFore, The Hollywood Report:

David Ehrlich, IndieWire:

Peter Debruge, Variety:

Matt Goldberg, Collider:

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

Deborah Krieger is a curatorial assistant and freelance arts and culture writer. She had written for The Awl, Bust Magazine, PopMatters, Paste Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, and blogs at www.i-on-the-arts.com/

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Why Casting Shia LeBeouf As A Raging Tennis Star Was A Brilliant Move

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