Shia LaBeouf’s anti-Trump performance art stunt He Will Not Divide Us generated a ton of interest—albeit for the wrong reasons—but the same can’t be said for his movie career.
The actor’s latest performance is playing talented tennis bad boy John McEnroe in new movie biopic Borg. The movie, which chronicles the rivalry between the fiery American and the Swedish athlete who played each other fourteen times between 1978 and 1981, completed filming late last year.
While Borg, a Swedish movie directed by Janus Metz Pedersen, is being released in Europe and the Middle East this fall, no American distributor has yet snapped it up for release.
The movie was previously called Borg/McEnroe but its title has been changed to reflect the fact it’s a character study about the Swedish tennis legend—played by Sverrir Gudnason—something that is making a US distribution deal harder to come by than was anticipated .
A film source told Heat Street: “Shia is fine in the movie as McEnroe but it’s really an arthouse movie about Borg, not McEnroe, and that has cooled interest over here.” Talks with a leading US distributor recently stalled but the film’s Swedish backers SF Studios remain hopeful of securing an American release deal later this year.
Ten years ago Shia LaBeouf was the next big Hollywood thing, on the cusp of starring in Transformers and cast in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.
But his last two movies American Honey and Man Down made less than $250,000 between them and LaBeouf’s presence in movies is increasingly not being viewed as an asset by movie industry.
” The movie’s producers are hoping it enters the Toronto Film Festival this fall and that subsequent positive buzz lands it a [US] distributor,” added the source. “But they had hoped to have confirmed a US release deal by now.”
John McEnroe himself might be relieved to hear Borg is in limbo since he has publicly complained that nobody from the movie talked to him before filming.
“It doesn’t seem like they are all that interested in talking with me,” he told Vanity Fair. “I don’t know how you can do it without ever meeting me.”