Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook Licenses Film Rights to Sony for ‘Lean In’

sandbergFacebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg has licensed the film rights to Sony Corp. for her bestselling book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Sandberg’s book sheds light on the unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace. 

Sony Co-Chairman Amy Pascal has assigned TV writer Nell Scovell (NCIS, Monk), who co-wrote Lean In, to write the film script. The film will not follow Sandberg’s life, and neither will Sandberg be in the film. Instead, the storyline will be fictional and focus on gender disparities at work, the central theme of Sandberg’s popular book.

Although the licensing deal has not been made public yet, the Sony studios are excited about adapting the book, as they find the Silicon Valley atmosphere to be rich with drama and experience. Sandberg is a formidable presence, having just been announced this week as the youngest female billionaire in the world, at age 44. Her life will offer plenty of fodder for the film studio, as she has quite a reputation at Facebook.

When Lean In was published in March 2013, it shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list, landing Sandberg on the cover of Time magazine. The book ended up being #2 on Amazon’s best-selling list for 2013, and spent 12 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction best-selling list in 2013.

The CEO of Sony, Michael Lynton, knows Sandberg well, having used his home as the launch party for Lean In. Clearly, nepotism works well in the film industry. The film studio has been successful in the past with film adaptations such as The Social Network, which was directed by David Fincher.

After publication of her book, Sandberg started up a foundation called Lean In. She will reportedly donate the profits from the film to this foundation, which aims to further the message that women can advance in the business and technology worlds.

Who Will Play the Title Character in Lean In?

From seeing Sandberg in her excellent TED Talk, she comes across as steely yet approachable. With a slightly warm demeanor and easy smile, it shouldn’t be too hard to find an actress to play the female lead in the film. Although it won’t be about Sandberg’s life per se, it may well focus on aspects of her life, and perhaps the lead female character will mirror Sandberg’s personality in some ways. It may not be obvious but some things about her life might sneak in here and there. To not take advantage of some aspects of Sandberg’s life and personality would be a missed prime opportunity.

So, who would be the ideal actress to portray the lead female in the not-yet-titled film? Think age appropriate.

  •  Cate Blanchett. The lead should have dark hair so Blanchett would have to dye her hair. She’s been in loads of films, and is always excellent. Her turn as Irish journalist Veronica Guerin in the film by the same name was haunting and tragic. 
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones. Zeta-Jones didn’t have a huge part, but her role in Traffic as a beleaguered wife was some serious work. Very impressive.
  • Sandra Bullock. Bullock shows she can hold her own in some serious roles. With her Gravity role, she had the chance to show she’s much more than a funny woman. She did win an Oscar for The Blind Side, which she was certainly good in, but Gravity was an excellent showcase for her Ryan Stone character.
  • Mary-Louise Parker. She was excellent in Weeds, and she is seriously underrepresented in films. Someone put her in a film, please.

By Juana Poareo 


Bloomberg News 

The Hollywood Reporter 

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