EXCLUSIVE: In a deal spearheaded by Sony Pictures production president Hannah Minghella, the studio has made a preemptive acquisition of film rights to Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will to Lead, the 2013 book written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The studio has set Nell Scovell, the veteran TV writer/director, to write the script. Scovell helped Sandberg write the book. The film is not a biography of Sandberg; rather, Scovell will hatch a narrative film from the themes contained within the book. Sandberg will donate her proceeds from the project to her foundation.
While there are some high-risers like Sandberg, the book covered the inequities between how women and men are treated in the workplace and in leadership positions. After analyzing the root causes, Sandberg offered theories and solutions on how women can shed these timeworn shackles and become better empowered in the workplace. It’s the second major movie project from Sony Pictures with a Facebook tie-in, after the studio made the Best Picture nominated David Fincher-directed The Social Network, about founder Mark Zuckerberg and the rocky formation of Facebook.
Scovell is currently directing an episode of the MTV series Awkward and she is developing a half-hour animated show with Bento Box. She has so far scripted and helmed two cable movies: It Was One of Us for Lifetime and Hayley Wagner, Star for Showtime, and her long list of TV series credits include NCIS, Monk, Murphy Brown, The Simpsons, and she created and was showrunner for ABC’s Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. She is repped by WME and Bloom Hergott.
Sony Pictures hasn’t set a producer for the project, but I have a feeling Minghella is going to hear the knocks on her office door shortly.