Last week, the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced the first wave of its film slate with many exciting titles already announced. For whatever reason, they kept the announcement of this year’s Opening Night Gala under wraps until this morning.
The festival will kick off on the evening of September 7 with the World Premiere of BORG/MCENROE, directed by Janus Metz from the screenplay by Ronnie Sandahl and starring Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe, Sverrir Gudnason as Bjorn Borg, as well as Stellan Skarsgard.
The role of the notorious tennis player, John McEnroe, seems perfectly matched to the eclectic LaBeouf, who is currently shooting Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz’s The Peanut Butter Falcon in Savannah, Georgia. The talented actor returns to TIFF after being there in 2016 with Andrea Arnold’s American Honey.
Gudnason is a Swedish television star who is presumably well known in Scandinavia but has yet to break out in anything stateside.
Borg/McEnroe also becomes the second film about a tennis rivalry to play at this year’s TIFF after Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’s Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. That movie will be released by Fox Searchlight on Sept. 22.
Metz previously directed an episode of HBO’s True Detective as well as a number of documentaries, including 2010’s Armadillo, but Borg/McEnroe will be his narrative feature debut.
Previous TIFF Opening Night Galas include festival regular Jake Gyllenhaal’s Demolition, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven last year,
The movie will be released in various Scandinavian countries in conjunction with its TIFF premiere — although the movie is simply called “Borg” in some countries. It will then open in other European countries over the course of the fall.
As of this writing, the movie doesn’t have U.S. distribution in place, so it will be considered an acquisition title for North America and other foreign regions.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor