Hilary Swank to Play Iowa Legend in New Movie
The remarkable story of a racing legend, not to mention an Iowa legend, is coming to the big screen soon!
Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank has been tapped to play Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify and compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. She did both in 1977.
The film, titled Speed Girl, based on the book of the same name by Stephen Talty, will revolve around Guthrie's unlikely ascension in a male-dominated sport. It will touch on the discrimination and sabotage she faced as a female racer, as well as her many triumphs.
The oldest of five children, Guthrie was born in Iowa City. She originally set out to be an aerospace engineer, and worked with Republic Aviation after she graduated from University of Michigan with a physics degree in 1960. Guthrie started racing three years later, and in 1972, less than ten years from her initial pursuit, she was racing full-time.
Guthrie was also the first woman to lead a lap in the NASCAR Cup Series. While her NASCAR career concluded with zero wins, she did finish in the top 10 a total of five times. In 2019, she was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame — the fifth woman to enter the Hall.
Guthrie is still active at 84-years-old.
The woman playing Guthrie, Hilary Swank, is a decorated actress famous for a number of roles. She earned widespread recognition for her performance as Brandon Teena, a transgender man, in the 1999 drama Boys Don't Cry, a groundbreaking and controversial role. She also played a boxer in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby. She went on to win an Oscar for both performances, among a handful of other awards.
It's easy to forget how terrific of an actress Swank is due to her infrequent appearances in movies and TV shows. She's dipped in activity in recent years, perhaps on account of being more selective with her projects. The story of Guthrie and the script for Speed Girl must've enticed her enough to commit.
A release date for the movie is not yet scheduled, and additional information on the cast has not yet been revealed.