Tobey Maguire taking it to 'The Limit'

Actor producing Ferrari racing project with Jenno Topping

Tobey Maguire will produce "The Limit" for Columbia as a starring vehicle -- literally.

The studio is in final negotiations to pre-emptively acquire the race car-themed project, with Tony Peckham attached to pen the screenplay.

Maguire is producing with Jenno Topping, newly installed as a producer at Maguire Entertainment, and Mandalay's Cathy Schulman.

Based on Michael Cannell's upcoming book, "Limit" tells the story of real-life friends and rivals Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips, two Grand Prix drivers on the Ferrari team, who are pitted against each other during the 1961 Drivers Championship. Maguire, repped by CAA and Management 360, would play Hill.

Jon Karp's Hachette imprint Twelve is set to release the Cannell book in the fall.

Sony's Matt Tolmach and Andrea Giannetti will oversee production for the studio. Nick Reimond from Maguire Entertainment brought the project to the company. Mandalay Scarlett Lacey also is serving in a producing capacity.

Peckham, repped by WMA and Anonymous, is an in-demand scribe who wrote the upcoming Clint Eastwood pic "The Human Factor" and Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" redo, as well Denzel Washington starrer "The Book of Eli" and "The Tourist," with George Clooney.

Mandalay is in active development on "Peaceable Kingdom," set up at New Line with Nick Cassavetes attached to direct.

Topping is a veteran producer whose credits range from "Catch and Release" and the "Charlie Angels" movies to "Dr. Dolittle" and "Can't Hardly Wait." She served as Betty Thomas' producing partner and also had a stint at HBO Films, making such Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning films as "The Late Shift" and "Rasputin."

The hiring signals that Maguire Entertainment, which has a first-look deal at Sony, is looking to become a more muscular producing entity. The company also is producing a big-screen version of Japanese anime "Robotech" in conjunction with producers Weed Road, "Everything Changes" with Wendy Finerman and the comic-book adaptation "Afterburn" with Neal Moritz.