Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank is set to play Janet Guthrie — the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500 — in a new feature film based on Stephan Talty’s book Speed Girl.
Swank, who won Oscars for her performances in Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, and more recently starred in the Netflix limited series Away, will play Guthrie, the first woman to qualify at Indy 500, who also went on to race in the Daytona 500 as well.
“This is an incredible true story about female empowerment and going after your dreams,” Swank was reported as saying by Deadline, which said she also will serve as executive producer for the project alongside production company Balcony 9’s Joel David Moore and Rishi Bajaj. “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.”
Guthrie, who started out in SCCA racing, made her Indy debut in 1976, qualifying for the the race from 1977-79. She raced in three Indy 500s: 1977-79, with a best finish of ninth in ’78 (pictured above). She went on to be the first woman to lead a lap in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.