Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic 2018
Wimbledon, 1980. The rainiest summer in decades. The world is waiting to see the number one tennis player in the world, Björn Borg, claim his fifth Wimbledon title. But few know of the drama behind the scenes: at only 24, Borg is close to the end - run-down, worn out and ridden with anxiety. Meanwhile, the challenger John McEnroe, 20, has decided to replace his former hero on the Wimbledon throne.
BORG/MCENROE is a story about the price of success. How the world’s two best tennis players, already in their early twenties, are imprisoned by their own careers. Two athletes constantly reduced to each other’s opposites by a commercialised tennis industry: the cartoonish ”lce Borg” and ”Superbrat”. Two rivals who, during Wimbledon 1980, are forced to realise that the only person capable of understanding what they are going through is their worst enemy.
Björn and John both had the special ability to drive themselves to the edge and beyond. I think this characterises most great achievers. And although the world saw them as perfect opposites they had this one particular thing in common – and they recognised that in each other. They both played tennis as if their lives depended on it and as the story unfolds we see how these two loners ultimately find understanding and friendship in each other.
Exploring the inner turmoil of both Björn and John, the film deploys visceral cinematography with lots of handheld and steady-cam stressing a sense of immediate presence and realism. And then, this is juxtaposed with iconic establishers creating rich atmospheric and sometimes even symbolic imagery, driving at theme and historical importance. The film is about a clash of titans and that calls for scale. We place the viewer in Björn and John’s shoes, but we also step back from this saturated and sometimes claustrophobic space into largescale images that stress the grandness of the match and the existential dimension of the story.
As a biopic inspired by the real events of Björn and John’s lives and particularly their legendary 1980 Wimbledon final, BORG/MCENROE re-invokes an era in sports where tennis players were “rock stars” and where John and Björn stood out probably as the two biggest icons. Although I was only a kid in 1980 myself, I remember this era in tennis very clearly. In my family we were all waiting for the 1980 Wimbledon final as if it were a holy sermon at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Christmas Eve. I probably only saw a guy with a funny hairdo moaning and groaning on one side of the net and another guy throwing crazy temper tantrums on the other, but there was still an air of sanctity about it that I remember to this day. Now I see that it was all about the way these two players were being pitted against each other. This was not just two men playing tennis. This was two continents clashing. Two completely opposite attitudes and tempers facing off against each other. Two completely different ways of being human.
Cast & Crew
Directed by : Janus Metz
Written by : Ronnie Sandahl
Produced by : Fredrik Wikström Nicastro, Jon Nohrstedt
Director of Photography : Niels Thastum
Editor : Per Sandholt, Per K. Kirkegaard
Production Design : Lina Nordqvist
Costume Design : Kicki Ilander
Hair & Make up Artist : AnnaCarin Lock
Composer : Jonas Struck, Vladislav Delay, Jon Ekstrand, Carl-Johan Sevedag
Sound Design : Rasmus Winther Jensen, Heikki Kossi
Main Cast : Sverrir Gudnason (Björn Borg), Shia LaBeouf (John McEnroe), Stellan Skarsgård (Lennart Bergelin), Tuva Novotny (Mariana Simionescu), Leo Borg (Björn Borg age 12), Marcus Mossberg (Björn Borg age 15)
Nominations and Awards
- People's Choice Award 2018
- EFA Feature Film Selection 2018