Borg/McEnroe to open the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival

By Meaghan Wray

With five weeks to go before the stars descend on Canada for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), organizers have announced the opening night film, and it may not be the one that movie fans expected. This year’s honour has been bestowed on Borg/McEnroe, a tennis drama starring Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason and Stellan Skarsgard.

The film—directed by Janus Metz Penderson and written by Ronnie Sandahl—chronicles the infamous rivalry between world-renowned tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe during the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. Eventually, the tension culminates in the two having a stand-off in the men’s singles final.

Shia, who stars as US tennis great John McEnroe, said in an interview last year that he chased this role after reading the script, adding that him and John have quite a bit in common, “You look for parallels in your life, and I’m lucky because there is a lot here. Everything in common. Passionate. Perfectionist. Narcissistic. I’m a bit of a caricature also.”

Every September, stars from Hollywood and beyond come to Toronto to represent their art and showcase their talent—and, of course, walk the red carpet. Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Emma Stone are just a few of the A-listers with films screening at this year’s festival. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet will also see their adventure film The Mountain Between Us make its world debut.

Angelina will premiere her historical thriller First They Killed My Father in Toronto, as well. The film is based on the memoir by Loung Ung and explores life in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime. Earlier this year, the film was screened in Cambodia, where the 42-year-old mother of six discussed the importance of bringing this story to life, “This film was not made to focus on the horrors of the past, but to celebrate the resilience, kindness and talent of the Cambodian people.”

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