Hilary Swank is getting back into the sports world, and she’ll be portraying a racing pioneer.
According to Deadline, Swank will star and produce a feature film about the life and career of race car driver Janet Guthrie. Based on the book Speed Girl, the film will follow Guthrie’s journey in her multi-year long quest to become the first woman to qualify for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“This is an incredible true story about female empowerment and going after your dreams” said Swank. “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.”
Two years ago, a 30 for 30 documentary was made about Guthrie trying to qualify for Indy. While Guthrie didn’t really consider herself as a “feminist,” she broke many barriers for women throughout the 60s and 70s. From graduating with a physics degree at the University of Michigan to becoming an aerospace engineer to racing cars as pretty much the only woman racing at that time, Guthrie encountered pushback from many men at the time who thought she not only couldn’t do the job but that she might’ve been a hazard to herself and others while on the track.
Instead, Guthrie held her own and qualified for the Indy 500 in 1977. While mechanical problems took Guthrie out early that year, she came back in 1978 and finished 9th while racing with a broken wrist. Guthrie also became the first woman to qualify for NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 (finishing 15th) and their biggest race, the Daytona 500 (finishing 12th).
This film will get Swank back into the sports feature film world. One of her most memorable roles was in Million Dollar Baby where she won the Academy Award for Best Actress and the film won Best Picture. It’s way too early to tell if this film will be of interest to the Academy but there aren’t too many better choices to portray Janet Guthrie than Hilary Swank.