By Anita Busch
Fox has its Miracle Mop project Joy with Jennifer Lawrence and director David O. Russell and now Sony Pictures’ has its Tupperware project. What’s next? Windshield wipers? Oh, wait, they made that movie already.
Sony acquired author Bob Kealing’s non-fiction book Tupperware Unsealed for Sandra Bullock to star as the marketer extraordinaire behind the launch of Tupperware and its famous parties that made the storage product a household name and into the multi-billion company it still is today. Tate Taylor (The Help, Get On Up) will adapt, produce and direct this fun story about a divorcee from Detroit who convinced a plastics inventor to let her go crazy marketing a good product which, up until then, was getting little attention from consumers.
David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films, who packaged the project, will also produce with Tom Shelly. The story centers on Brownie Wise, the female marketing entrepreneur behind the rollout of the Tupperware brand and the reclusive Massachusetts inventor named Earl Tupper. The product was developed in the late 1940s but it wasn’t until Wise stepped in that the product really took off. Wise was as savvy a businesswoman as they come and, in fact, was the first female ever featured on the cover of Business Week magazine. The Tupperware business (who doesn’t have this in their kitchen?), is still going strong today.
The story will focus on Wise’s start and include the clashes that she had with the company founder Tupper that led to her leaving the company. Tupper had hired Wise at his company in 1951 but there was friction between them after she started getting so much public attention for her nationwide Tupperware parties. He later fired her after other companies showed an interest in buying him out. Apparently Tupper believed that having a woman executive would make the company less attractive to corporate suitors. As projected sales headed to $100M, he sold the company for $16M and gave Wise an insulting pittance of only $35,000.
The project went out to studios earlier in the week and Sony emerged the victor this afternoon. Other producers on the project will be Tom Shelly of Steele Mill Productions and Taylor through his Wyolah Films. John Norris and Alex Young will serve as executive producers.
Hannah Minghella, president of Production for Sony will oversee the project for the studio along with Andrea Giannetti. Bullock and Taylor are represented by CAA. Hoberman and Lieberman are represented by WME. Shelly is represented by WME and attorney David Colden.
Taylor is no stranger to the biopic genre. His next picture is Get On Up which he co-wrote, directed and produced; it tells the life story of iconic singer James Brown. The filmmaker’s The Help was nominated for four Oscars two years ago, including for Best Picture. Octavia Spencer won for best supporting actress. Taylor is also behind the Netflix series Grace & Frankie which stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. He plans to direct the pilot and executive produce the series, along with Paula Weinstein and co-creators Marta Kaufman and Howard Morris.