See Shia LaBeouf transform into John McEnroe in the "Borg vs. McEnroe" trailer

When LaBeouf as McEnroe says "You cannot be serious!"

By Matthew Rozsa
July 3, 2017 4:33PM (UTC)
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Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason in "Borg vs. McEnroe" (Nordisk Film)

Shia LaBeouf may not be the most likable actor. Then again, John McEnroe wasn't a particularly likable tennis player.

That's why seeing LaBeouf play McEnroe — no, embody is a more appropriate term here — is such a sight to behold.

The 30-second trailer for the upcoming film "Borg vs. McEnroe" doesn't tell us a great deal that we couldn't have figured out from the title alone. The movie chronicles the epic rivalry between McEnroe and Swedish tennis champion Björn Borg, complete with training montages and grandiose music swelling in the background.


The centerpiece of the trailer, though, is LaBeouf's aforementioned embodiment of McEnroe. Bad biopics feel like cheap attempts at imitation, but just seeing LaBeouf shout out "You cannot be serious!" makes it clear that this is something else entirely. LaBeouf isn't simply playing McEnroe, he is wearing the man's skin.

Even for moviegoers who aren't tennis fans, this trailer is enough to whet the appetite.

During an interview with Variety, LaBeouf admitted that he had a lot in common with McEnroe.


"Everything in common. Passionate. Perfectionist. Narcissistic. I’m a bit of a caricature also," LaBeouf admitted.

He also said that he actively "chased" the opportunity to be in this project, arguing that "the script is brilliant. We are all here because of that. I cried the first time I read it. It’s not based on a book or a biography. It’s based on hard work."

"Borg vs. McEnroe" also stars Sverrir Gudnason as Borg and Stellan Skarsgard as Borg's coach Lennart Bergelin. Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen, "Borg vs. McEnroe" is due in theaters September 6.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Biopics Björn Borg Borg Vs. Mcenroe Film John Mcenroe Movies Partner Video Shia Labeouf Sports Tennis Trailers