Shia LaBeouf to play John McEnroe in ‘Borg vs McEnroe’

He can, it turns out, be serious

Shia LeBeouf has signed on to play the part of combustible tennis ace John McEnroe in a new biopic about the great sporting rivalry between him and Bjorn Borg.

The American star of Transformers and Indiana Jones 6 will appear opposite the up-and-coming Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason, who has been cast as his tennis nemesis Borg in Borg vs McEnroe.

LaBeouf, who like McEnroe in his youth has been no stranger to a controversial outburst or three, spoke about his role at a panel at the Cannes Film Festival this week, while discussing his role as Jake in another film, American Honey, which is being featured at the famous festival.

“Jake is me. So is McEnroe. That’s it, man,” said LaBeouf. “I understand these people, I empathize with them. I get it. You turn things up and turn things down. It’s me.”

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Stellan Skarsgård will star as Borg’s trainer Lennart Bergelin, and they will be directed by a Dane, Janus Metz Pederson, of True Detective fame. The film will centre on the iconic 1980 Wimbledon final which saw the two greats at the top of their game, and discuss a complex relationship which came to define the game of tennis for many years.

Gudnason and LaBoeuf have both admitted to already having been in training for the film – which reportedly starts shooting in August – for two months.