Film will depict rival Grand Prix drivers

Columbia Pictures is closing in on a deal to acquire screen rights to “The Limit,” with Tobey Maguire attached to star in the story of rival Grand Prix drivers.

Columbia is in negotiations to acquire Michael Cannell’s forthcoming novel, which Tony Peckham will adapt. Maguire will star as Phil Hill, who went against his good friend and Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips in the 1961 Drivers Championship.

Move coincides with Maguire’s Columbia-based shingle beefing up its ranks by hiring veteran producer Jenno Topping, who will produce “The Limit.” Topping will oversee day-to-day production for the company and will produce movies for the company with Maguire.

Topping has had a first-look deal with the studio, either partnered with director Betty Thomas or by herself, for nearly a decade. Most recently, she produced the Jennifer Garner starrer “Catch and Release.”

At Maguire Entertainment, she will oversee a development slate that includes the Gary Ross helming vehicle “Tokyo Suckerpunch,” the bigscreen adaptation of 1980s TV series “Robotech” and the crime thriller “Good People,” which is based on a Marcus Sakey novel.

“We have worked with Jenno for a very long time,” Columbia prexy Matt Tolmach said. “She is a member of our studio family, so joining forces with Tobey is truly serendipitous. … There is an enormous comfort level creatively.”

Maguire is also producing “The Limit” alongside Cathy Schulman and Scarlett Lacey for Mandalay Pictures. Nick Reimond from Maguire Entertainment brought the project to the company.

“The Limit” will be published in the fall by the Hachette Publishing division Twelve.

Peckham recently scripted “The Human Factor,” the Clint Eastwood-directed Warner Bros. film, as well as a rewrite on “Sherlock Holmes,” the Guy Ritchie-directed film.

Topping’s other producer credits include “Guess Who,” the “Charlie’s Angels” movies and “28 Days.”

CAA brokered the film rights deal and Peckham is repped by WMA.

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