Sony Pictures will produce a movie based on Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Deadline broke the news, reporting that the movie will not be a biopic of Sandberg, but rather “a narrative film from the themes contained within the book,” written by veteran TV writer Nell Scovell, who co-wrote the book.
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Is this good news for working women? It all depends. Narrative films based on books about ideas are sometimes an iffy proposition. Witness any number of self-help books turned into movies over the past few years.
And then there’s Slate‘s imagining of the book as a romcom, starting Rachel McAdams as “Becky, a gorgeous genius who secretly thinks she’s garbage”:
BECKY: But I’m just a top-of-my-class Wharton MBA. I don’t know the first thing about business.
MAX: The job pays $100,000 to start.
BECKY: (driving her hardest bargain) How about $50,000?
Max shakes Becky’s trifling little hand.
A lot will depend on the angle of the eventual film and the seriousness with which the story is treated. Certainly, there’s plenty of dramatic potential and useful information in Lean In, which encourages women to stay present in their careers, and to demand equal treatment (for example, raises) from their employers.
Plus, David Fincher’s movie The Social Network, about Facebook’s CEO, was nominated for an Academy Award. There’s no reason why a movie about the company’s COO can’t do the same — provided the message of the book makes it to the big screen, and doesn’t get lost in soft-focus.
Regardless, the film will probably be good news for Sandberg’s foundation, which will get any profits from Sandberg’s end of the deal. She doesn’t need the money. Last week, Sandberg became one of the country’s youngest billionaires. As of January 24, Bloomberg‘s billionaires index listed only 18 female billionaires in the world.
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