Indy 500 Pioneer Janet Guthrie Gets Biopic; Hilary Swank To Star
The Oscar-winning actress will play key figure in American open-wheel racing
As the first woman to qualify and race the Indy 500 back in 1977, Janet Guthrie is a legend that blazed a trail that allowed the likes of Sarah Mann and Danica Patrick to compete in The Greatest Spectacle In Racing. Now, she's the subject of an upcoming movie that will retell her efforts in motor racing to the silver screen.
Hilary Swank, who has won two Academy Awards over her career, shall be both lead star and executive producer for the film, which will be based on Stephan Talty's biography SPEED GIRL (audiobook listing can be found here). She's teaming up with Balcony 9 Productions to bring Guthrie's life and story to theatres.
To hear Swank put it, she's rightfully enthusiastic. “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.” And it's easy to see why. Guthrie's road to Indycar was shaped from her days as an SCCA amateur racer, driving a Jaguar XK140 that she customized on her own. After taking part in NASA's astronaut programme, and taking part in the Daytona 500 in 1977 before making her storied Indy 500 debut.
Photo from IMS Phot, c/o RACER.com
The next year, she finished ninth (on a fractured wrist, mind), the highest placing any woman got in the race before Patrick finished on the Brickyard's podium (P3) in 2009. Given the fraught history to affirm women's rights in the '70s, Guthrie faced much opposition on her way to the paddock, but her career results in both NASCAR and IndyCar proved them all wrong.
There's no word on a release date as the film is only announced to be made, but as soon as a trailer drops, you will see it here first.