Amblin Partners has acquired film rights to the life story of Jutta Kleinschmidt – the first and only woman to win the brutal off-road endurance race The Dakar Rally – as well as rights to her self-penned book “My Victory at Dakar.”
“Hobbs and Shaw” director David Leitch and his producing partner Kelly McCormick brought the project to the studio and will produce through their 87North production banners, along with David Kaufmann, who first conceived of the project, under his Devonsheer Media banner.
The Dakar Rally – often called the most dangerous race on the planet – is found at the intersection of impossible terrain and logistical blindness. Originating in 1978, the multi-stage race began in Paris and ended in Dakar, Senegal. Now, some 40 years later, the race has claimed over 70 lives and victory at Dakar remains the Everest of motorsports. The 2020 rally took place in the Saudi Arabian desert for the first time, and drivers weren’t told the course until minutes before the start of each stage.
Kleinschmidt, who was born in Germany, bought her first motorcycle at age 18. After studying physics, she worked at BMW for six years before quitting in 1992 to pursue her passion of motorsports. In 1997, she became the first woman ever to win a stage of the rally and, in 1999, she earned recognition – finishing third overall – as half of the first all-female team to stand on the winners’ podium. In 2001, after 15 years of trying, Kleinschmidt won the race.
The script will be written by Greta Heinemann, who grew up on the Bavarian-Austrian border, just minutes from where Kleinschmidt was raised, and is currently supervising producer on “Good Girls.”
Annie Marter will executive produce for 87North and Kleinschmidt will co-produce. Jeb Brody, president of production, and Mia Maniscalco, VP of creative affairs, will oversee for Amblin Partners.
Leitch and McCormick recently signed a first look deal at Universal and produced the action pic “Nobody” starring Bob Odenkirk.
McCormick and Leitch are repped by WME and Tara Kole of Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, Inc. Kaufmann is repped by UTA and Larry Marks of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP. Kleinschmidt is repped by UTA. Heinemann is repped by UTA, Bellevue Productions and Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman.