Sony Pictures buys movie rights to Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sony Pictures has obtained the rights to Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller “Lean In,” according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Nell Scovell, a veteran television writer who helped Sandberg write the book, will pen the script, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss the matter publicly.
The story will be based on the themes explored in “Lean In” but will not be about Sandberg, and she will not be a character in the movie, the people said.
Sandberg, 44, is the chief operating officer of Facebook Inc. She also sits on the boards of Facebook and Walt Disney Co.
She is a rarity in the high-tech industry, a woman who has scaled to the top of Silicon Valley. Just this week she became one of the world’s youngest billionaires and one of the few women to reach that net worth.
“Lean In,” published in March, sold 140,000 copies in its first week and spent 12 weeks on top of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list last year.
It also triggered heated debate over gender inequality in the workplace and how women can get ahead professionally.
Facebook was the subject of another Sony release in 2010: “The Social Network,” a less-than-flattering film about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Aaron Sorkin won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for the film, which was based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires.”
Sony Chief Executive Michael Lynton is a longtime friend of Sandberg’s. He hosted a “Lean In” launch party at his home.
In an interview in 2012, Lynton told The Times that he was skeptical at first that Facebook could help promote his studio’s movies. When he had dinner with Sandberg, she asked him why he didn’t advertise more on Facebook. He told her he needed better tools to measure the effectiveness of the ads.
“Unlike any other executive, instead of just nodding her head, she and Facebook acted incredibly quickly by going off and forming a joint venture with Nielsen to devise a way to measure how effective our advertising would be on Facebook,” Lynton said.
Elizabeth Diana, a spokeswoman for Facebook, declined to comment on the “Lean In” deal.
Deadline.com was the first to report it.