An Exclusive Peek at the Lean In Movie Script

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Jan. 27 2014 2:33 PM

Lean In: The Movie

An exclusive peek at the Sheryl Sandberg–inspired script.

Lean In
Rachel McAdams plays Becky, a gorgeous genius who secretly believes she is garbage.

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker

Late last week, it was reported that Sony Pictures had bought the rights to Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling book, Lean In. Today, Slate has obtained an exclusive first look at the script. We can’t wait to see how it all comes together on the big screen.  

Amanda Hess Amanda Hess

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

INT. – OFFICE – DAY

BECKY (Rachel McAdams), a gorgeous genius who secretly believes she is garbage, sits in an office waiting room in a skirt suit and tottering heels, hyperventilating.

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FEMALE RECEPTIONIST

                                    Becky, Mr. Zaggerburk will see you now.

BECKY
(up-talking?)

                                    It’s OK? I can just leave now? And never come back?

FEMALE RECEPTIONIST

                                    Follow me.

Female Receptionist throws open the door to reveal a warehouse-style office strewn with MacBook Airs and ergonomic balls. To their left, BROS are hard at work rearranging a set of oversized arrows on a vast white board. To their right, BROS play a pickup game of trashcan basketball. DAX (Jason Segel), a man, palms a NERF BASKETBALL, takes a shot, and rockets Becky in the head.

DAX

                                    Oh, come on!

BECKY
(perkily)

                                    My fault!

Female Receptionist and Becky arrive at a child’s playpen at the corner of the office. MAX ZAGGERBURK (Michael Cera), somehow a billionaire, lies on his back, batting a ball of yarn over his head.

BECKY

                                    Mr. Zaggerburk? I’m so sorry to waste your time. I’ll just­—

MAX

                                    Please: Call me Max. Take a seat.

Becky carefully lowers herself onto an enormous ergonomic ball.

MAX

                                    Becky, GooBookIn would like you to come join a team
                                    that’s collaborating to pivot a mission-critical project for us.

Becky looks behind her. Her face says, Who, me? She topples off the ball.

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

                                    Deal.

Max shakes Becky’s trifling little hand.

INT. – GOOBOOKIN OFFICE – DAY

Becky, perched precariously on a ball at her hacker space, intently fills out a spreadsheet on an iPad. She presses “PRINT” with a flourish, then surveys the office. Across the room, Dax grabs a giant yellow arrow mounted to the wall, spins it like a pinwheel, and scratches his chin. Becky looks at her watch. It is 9:08 a.m.

BECKY
(under her breath)

                                    How could I have already completed my ask for the day?
                                    I must have done it all wrong. Typical Becky.

Becky deletes her spreadsheet and starts from scratch. Max zigzags through the office on a UNICYCLE.

DAX

                                    All-hands!

Becky watches the office bros pick up their balls and file into a conference room. She struggles to lift her ball, but her tiny lady arms can’t get around it. She bends over, grunts, and rolls the ball after them.

INT. – CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

Max, Becky, Dax, and TAD (Jonah Hill), a man, join a collection of LESSER BROS sitting on balls around a long CONFERENCE TABLE.

MAX

                                The good news is that GooBookIn is stronger than ever. The bad
                                news is that we’re hemorrhaging money and have no discernable
                                business model. Let’s spitball some collaborative solutions. Tad?

TAD

                                We could ideate until innovations come out.

MAX

                                Good. I like that. Yes. Becky?

BECKY
(just pathetic)

                                Um? I noticed that we’re spending a lot of money on expensive
                                devices, then just haphazardly scattering them around the office?
                                Ruining them?
                                Like, Tad’s service snake alone crushed three iPads in its jaws this
                                morning.

The Bros stare at Becky.

MAX

                                What did you just say?

Becky takes a deep breath. You’ve got this.

BECKY
(assertive)

                                I said instead of constantly replacing our assets, we could make
                                an effort to better protect our investments.

MAX

                                Or maybe you could make an effort to stop being such a bitch,
                                Becky.
                                OK. Dax?

Becky writes “TO DO: STOP BEING BITCH” on a NOTEPAD. Dax rises from his ergonomic ball and bounces it on the floor with two hands.      

DAX

                                Here’s my idea: Instead of constantly replacing our assets, we make
                                an effort to better protect our investments.

MAX

                                YEAH, BOYEEEE!

The Bros rush to fist-bump Dax. He throws his ergonomic ball in the air. It lands on Becky’s head, knocking her to the floor.

BECKY

                                   My fault.

INT. – GOOBOOKIN OFFICE BATHROOM – DAY

Becky sits on a toilet seat, softly weeping. She hears the bathroom door CREAK open. A pair of shoes CLICKS ASSERTIVELY, yet EMPATHETICALLY, on the tile.

BECKY

                                    Excuse me, this is the women’s room?

The stall swings open, revealing BERYL BOSSBERG (Sigourney Weaver). She wears a MASCULINE, yet FEMININE, suit. Her posture is CONFIDENT, yet OPEN. She flashes a WARM, yet FIRM smile.

BERYL
(a woman, yet the COO)

                                    I’m not just a woman. I’m the COO.

Beryl extends a SOFT, yet STURDY tissue to Becky.

BECKY

                                    … But how?

BERYL
(clear, yet inscrutable)

                                    Don’t leave before you leave, Becky.

BECKY

                                    Leave? The bathroom?

BERYL

                                    No.

BECKY

                                    Don’t leave the bathroom?

(pause)

                                    Hello?

Becky reaches the bathroom door just in time to catch Beryl disappearing into her OFFICE. But not before: Dax shoots the BASKETBALL to Beryl. She catches it, pivots, pitches it over her head, and lands it in the trashcan with an audible SWOOSH.

BECKY

                                    How does she do it?

INT. – GOOBOOKIN OFFICES – NIGHT

Becky sits alone at her hack space, now strewn with discarded spreadsheets.

The Bros have all left for the evening. She takes a spreadsheet, crumples it into a ball, and throws it at the trashcan. Air ball.

BECKY

                                    How did they ever let me into this office? All of the other
                                    candidates must have died in a tragic accident. Their only
                                    legacy is my failure, which brings dishonor upon all of their
                                    families. 

At the far end of the office, Becky sees a LIGHT flicker on in BERYL’S OFFICE. She gravitates toward it like the worthless bug that she is, knocks softly, then cracks open the door.

INT. – BERYL’S OFFICE – NIGHT

BECKY

                                    Hello? Beryl? I’m so sorry to bother you.

BERYL
(maternal, yet patronizing)

                                    Becky, you’re a fertile young woman. Have you considered
                                    starting a family?

Becky collapses onto an ergonomic ball.

BECKY

                                    It’s all I think about. But how could I possibly juggle kids
                                    while incompetently pursuing my career?

BERYL

                                     Becky, let me show you a little trick.

Beryl opens a desk drawer, revealing a SQUIRMING INFANT.

BECKY

                                    You keep a baby? In your desk?

Beryl lifts her pointer finger to her lips and performs an EXAGGERATED, yet AUTHENTIC wink.

BECKY

                                    Will you be my mentor?

BERYL

                                    Becky, no. But if you sign up via your GooBookIn profile, you can
                                    be an early adopter of my new female empowerment program,
                                    TILT FORWARD—NOT THAT MUCH—JUST RIGHT™.

Becky tilts forward precariously on the ball. It slips out from under her butt, hits the wall, and POPS LOUDLY.

MONTAGE – set to BRITNEY SPEARS’ “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”

Beryl picks up the BASKETBALL and models the correct form. She passes the ball to Becky, hitting her in the WOMB. Beryl lets out an EXASPERATED, yet SYMPATHETIC SIGH.

Becky comes out of a dressing room, modeling a pair of STILETTO HEELS. Beryl shakes her head—too high. Becky emerges again in a pair of MANNISH OXFORDS. BERYL shakes her head—too low. BECKY returns in a pair of SENSIBLE, yet FASHIONABLE pumps. BERYL nods—just right.

Beryl balances her Squirming Infant in one hand and a BRIEFCASE in the other. She steps onto a LADDER and begins climbing it QUICKLY, yet SLOWLY. Becky takes studious notes.

Becky lurches on her ergonomic ball, seesawing back and forth. She tilts back. Her feet flail into the air. Beryl squats next to her. She adjusts her torso to TILT FORWARD. NOT THAT MUCH. JUST RIGHT. Yes.

INT. – GOOBOOKIN OFFICES – DAY

Becky approaches the playpen. She takes a DEEP, yet SHALLOW breath.

BECKY
(like men talk)

                                    Max. I noticed that you’ve only stocked the office with exercise
                                    balls ergonomically designed to fit men’s bodies. It’s practically
                                    impossible for my strong, yet dainty frame to complete my
                                    deliverables while balancing on these man balls. You need to
                                    order some female sizes ASAP.

MAX

                                    Oh, word? Cool. We’ll get some lady balls.

BECKY
(victorious, yet humble)

                                    Thanks.

Becky turns and strides through the office SMILING, yet NOT SMILING. Dax palms the BASKETBALL and passes it to Beryl. Beryl locks eyes with Becky. She tosses the ball her way. Becky CATCHES! She SHOOTS! She SCORES! She WEEPS OPENLY, or ELSE THERE IS SOMETHING IN HER EYE.

CREDITS       

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

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