Hollywood star Shia LaBeouf, 31, has a reputation as an awkward guy.
Known as a fiery soul, the American actor has been the subject of many upheavals during his career and has had to deal with the authorities on several occasions.
In the Swedish-Danish-Finnish Borg / McEnroe film, LaBeouf jumps into a role for which, however, his fiery spirit fits perfectly: he interprets the tennis legend John McEnroe, remembered for his fiery temperament.
The film tells the story of the most famous fighting couple in tennis history, Swedish star Björn Borg and American talent McEnroe.
The background of the film reveals a strong Finnish contribution.
Jarkko Nieminen, who ended his successful tennis career in 2015, was responsible for coaching the film's main actors and selecting stunt actors.
In addition, former top player Veli Paloheimo, 49, served as LaBeouf's coach in filming, and Henrik Sillanpää, 26, who ended his tennis career, was a stunt player for Icelandic-Swedish Sverrir Gudnason, seen in the role of Borg.
Veli Paloheimo, Henrik Sillanpää and Jarkko Nieminen at the premiere of the film 2017. Photo: Kalle Koponen / HS
- My job was to make sure that the tennis scenes in the film look as good as possible.
It's a bit like police movies involve a real police officer who monitors the realism of the scenes, Nieminen said before the film's premiere.
Nieminen reminded that the goal was not to make LaBeouf and Gudnason perfect tennis players, but to make good-looking tennis players by name.
- It wasn't important to get a hard hit right there in the corner every time without mistakes, but the fact that the shot looks good.
The whimsical reputation of star actor LaBeouf was known to Nieminen, but after the collaboration, the Finn has nothing bad to say about this.
- He was a professional, really ambitious.
He wanted to do everything on top of the last one and was really frustrated if it didn't work out right away, Nieminen described.
- I think it is really respectable that he wants to do things as well as possible.
Nieminen did not participate in the actual filming of the film shot in Prague, but acted as a remote support to the on-site coaches.
- I received clips from Prague about how things are progressing, Nieminen said.
Paloheimo, who worked closely with LaBeouf in the Prague filming, received a wish from a Swedish colleague who had previously run the coaching station in advance of the filming: Good luck.
- He said they had tried to make Wimbledon points, but had gotten the Actors a little poorly in rehearsals.
He said he was trying to make it, Paloheimo said with a laugh.
- Of course, the directors and others were a little worried at that point, when tennis is such a big part of the film.
Paloheimo, however, gloomed well with LaBeouf, and the thing immediately began to roll.
- Sometimes it was quite a colorful go and we had to take small breaks from time to time, but we always went on and got everything done, Paloheimo, who also played against real life John McEnroe during his professional career, said.
The film’s story focuses on 1980 Wimbledon, where everyone expected the world’s best tennis player, just 24-year-old Björn Borg, to fix his fifth Wimbledon victory.
But what happens behind the scenes: the iconic player is also near the end of his career, tired and haunted by fears.
His worst rival, the young and talented John McEnroe, 20, has decided to oust his former hero and the duo’s mutual race culminates in a legendary duel at Wimbledon in 1980.
The authors of the film also include Finnish experts in the fields of music and film.
One of the composers of the film is the Finnish Sasu Ripatti, better known by the artist name Vladislav Delay.
The second sound designer of the film was Finnish sound effects master Heikki Kossi.
Borg / McEnroe (2017) on Tuesday on TV2 at 9 p.m.