EXCLUSIVE: Armadillo director Janus Metz Pederson is bringing one of sports’ most abiding rivalries to life in Borg Vs. McEnroe, which re-creates the intense professional enmity between Swedish tennis icon Bjorn Borg and American enfant terrible John McEnroe. Stellan Skarsgard and Sverrir Gudnasson are in talks for the project, and producers are also out to Shia LaBeouf for the role of the foul-mouthed, perm-haired but brilliant McEnroe — although it is too early to confirm if a deal will make or not.
Leading Swedish production companies Tre Vanner and SF Studios are producing the project, which Svensk is introducing to buyers at Cannes.
The Borg-McEnroe rivalry took on cinematic proportions, helped also by the distinctively different personalities: Borg, on the court at least, was controlled and cool, with McEnroe the opposite, all tantrums and visible emotions. Their 1980 match in the final of Wimbledon is widely considered one of the greatest tennis matches in the history of the sport. Serious.
Metz Pederson first made a name for himself with the powerful feature-length docu Armadillo, following a group of Danish soldiers at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz Pederson and cinematographer Lars Skree spent six months following the lives of the young soldiers situated less than a kilometer from Taliban positions. The film was awarded Cannes’ Critic’s Week Grand Prize in 2010. Metz Pederson has since gone on to direct a number of shorts as well as serve as an executive producer of True Detective. He is repped by CAA and Cinetic Media.
Skarsgard, one of the classiest characters around, is repped by ICM Partners, Curtis Brown Group and Agentfirman Planthaber. He appeared most recently Avengers: Age of Ultron and in the John Le Carre adaptation Our Kind Of Traitor. Gudnasson is also repped by Agentfirman Planthaber.