LaBeouf says learning tennis for ‘Borg/McEnroe’ like learning to dance

Shia LaBeouf compares learning tennis legend John McEnroe’s style to ballet at TIFF

Shia LaBeouf says learning tennis legend John McEnroe’s style was like rehearsing a ballet.

LaBeouf stars opposite Sverrir Gudnason in “Borg/McEnroe,” a film that recreates the match between McEnroe and Bjorn Borg at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships.

LaBeouf says the action scenes in the film were carefully scripted and choreographed to resemble the famous match.

Director Janus Metz added that some moviemaking “magic tricks” were used to “sell” the actors’ performances, given they had never played tennis prior to the film shoot.

Although he spent countless hours learning about the sport, LaBeouf felt he never truly learned how to play.

The world premiere of “Borg/McEnroe” officially kicked off TIFF on Thursday, which runs through Sept. 17. Canadian tennis phenom Denis Shapovalov was set to walk the red carpet along with the film’s stars for the gala screening.

“We rehearsed things like a ballet, including [McEnroe’s] outbursts. I would literally play them on a screen right before we would film and look at where everything was, and it was very paint-by-the-numbers in a way,” LaBeouf said at a press conference.

“You could’ve given me 20 years and I would’ve never played like McEnroe…. I started learning it like a dance, I never actually played tennis, it was something different.”

About 340 films will screen at this year’s fest, which is a smaller number than in recent years — a result of a TIFF mandate to trim the overall number of titles by 20 per cent. Organizers said they made the changes in response to feedback from audiences, the industry and the media.

Among the first celebrities to arrive in Toronto for the fest were Charlie Hunnam of “Sons of Anarchy” fame, who stars in “Papillon” with Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot,” Armie Hammer of “Call Me By Your Name,” and supermodel and musician Grace Jones, who is promoting a documentary about her life.

Other films in the lineup include “Suburbicon,” directed by George Clooney, Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.”

About a third of the films in the lineup are directed by women, including Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father.”

Other stars expected to attend the festival include Denzel Washington (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.”), Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba (both of “Molly’s Game”) and Steve Carell and Emma Stone (co-stars of another tennis movie, “Battle Of The Sexes”).

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. Health Minister announces plan for new hospital in Terrace

“This means more beds, a level three trauma centre, better surgery and better care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

B.C. Family Day to move to third week in February next year

Premier John Horgan said the move is to better align the holiday with businesses and families

B.C. to increase minimum wage to $15.20/hour in 2021

Premier John Horgan says next increase will come in June

Sold out 1st annual nordic ski club tour

International gourmet food and beverage stations on ski trails

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks came out hot, beat Bruins 6-1

Loui Eriksson scores twice, catapulting Vancouver to a lopsided victory over Boston

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Most Read