Underdog story centers on rally racing

Exclusive: Jeremy Renner has made a deal with Paramount to produce and star in ”Slingshot,” an underdog story set in the high-octane world of rally racing.

Pic is the true story of Bill Caswell, who competed against professional race teams in the World Rally Championships in Mexico with a $500 BMW he bought on Craigslist.

Renner and Don Handfield will produce through their recently minted production company, The Combine. Handfield will also write the screenplay.

Renner and Handfield previously announced that they are also developing Steve McQueen biopic ”McQueen” as the first project for The Combine. Between it and ”Slingshot,” whichever bows first will be Renner’s first producing credit.

Ivan Zacharias is attached to direct and James Gray is attached to write the script for “McQueen.”

Caswell went up against pro teams in the Mexican event in a 1991 BMW 318i. Formerly a finance banker, Caswell left his job in 2009 to focus on rally racing in cars that he built, modified and fabricated himself — and gained recognition by placing third in the Rally America class of Rally Mexico.

Renner has also been tapped by Universal as ”The Bourne Legacy” lead and has been filming ”Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.” He’ll be seen next fin ”Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” for Paramount” followed by ”The Avengers” for Disney.

Handfield directed football drama ”Touchback,” starring Kurt Russell, for Emmett/Furla Films and Freedom Films.

Renner’s repped by CAA and Untitled. Handfield is repped by UTA and Artist Internation.

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