Osborne gets it in gear for McLaren pic

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Barrie Osborne, Oscar-winning producer of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is prepping a biopic of Formula 1 racing legend Bruce McLaren.

The $100 million project, announced Saturday at an A1 Grand Prix car race in Taupo, New Zealand, is expected to start shooting early next year.

A group of private Kiwi investors are financing the development of the film, and Osborne will handle production financing and global distribution.

Wellington screenwriter Matthew Grainger ("The Ferryman") is developing the script, and Oscar-winner Dan Hennah ("Rings") will serve as production designer.

"McLaren, a New Zealander, was one of the world's pre-eminent sportsmen," Osborne said. "His name is still synonymous with the international motorsport scene through Team McLaren Mercedes."

McLaren overcame a crippling joint problem in childhood to become, at age 22, the youngest winner of a Formula 1 race, the U.S. Grand Prix. He died in a car crash 10 years later amid a record-breaking winning streak in 1970 for Team McLaren.

Motorsport enthusiast and veteran international broadcaster Michael Garlick is co-producing the movie, which will use some of McLaren's original cars and be shot in New Zealand, the U.K., Monaco, Germany, France and the U.S.
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