Hilary Swank to play racing pioneer Janet Guthrie in Speed Girl film adaptation

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American actor Hilary Swank is set to play Janet Guthrie, a pilot-turned-race car driver who smashed barriers to become the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.

According to Deadline, Guthrie will lead and produce the film. The movie comes from Joel David Moore and Rishi Bajaj’s Balcony 9 Productions. The two-time Oscar winner – for her performances in Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby – is coming off Netflix space drama series Away and Deon Taylor’s feature thriller Fatale.

The upcoming project is based on Stephan Talty’s book Speed Girl.

The plot of the movie is set in the 1970s when the fight for women’s rights was gaining speed. Guthrie makes a bid for the Indianapolis 500 in 1976 despite relentless opposition from the racing establishment and the men she hoped to race against.

Janet qualified for the race in 1978 where she finished in the top 10, destroying many widely-held stereotypes about female drivers. The film will bring Guthrie’s passion and persistence vividly to life, immersing viewers in the untold story of the woman who came to Indianapolis just hoping to qualify and left a trailblazer, inspiring generations of future female racers.

As reported by Deadline, Swank, who has previously produced features including Freedom Writers and Conviction, and her husband Philip Schneider will execute produce alongside Balcony 9’s Joel David Moore and Rishi Bajaj.

Also read: Harish Patel of Gunda fame confirms role in Marvel’s Eternals: ‘The makers haven’t even announced my name’

“This is an incredible true story about female empowerment and going after your dreams. When I was approached with Janet Guthrie’s story by the great team at Balcony 9, I immediately said yes. I can’t wait to bring her inspiring life to the screen,” said Swank.

“Janet Guthrie was a fighter who wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of her dreams. Her excellence in the face of sexism, hardship and sabotage resonates even more profoundly today,” added Moore.

The deal was negotiated by Hillary Jones of Jones and Jones Law Group and Jackoway, Austen, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Mandelbaum, Morris, Bernstein, Trattner, and Klein.

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