Osborne preps biopic of racer McLaren


WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Barrie Osborne, Oscar-winning producer of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is prepping a biopic of Formula One racing car legend Bruce McLaren.

The $100 million project, to be 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 Tattooist") is developing the script and Oscar-winner Dan Hennah ("The Lord of the Rings") will serve as production designer.

"McLaren, a New Zealander, was one of the world's preeminent sportsmen," Osborne said in a statement. "His name is still synonymous with the international motor sport scene through Team McLaren Mercedes."

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

Motor sport 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.