Although it is strange to think, KFC’s Colonel Sanders was once a real human being and not just an animated dancing cartoon with some disquieting Antebellum vibes. But Harlan Sanders was indeed an actual person, businessman, and outspoken critic of subpar fried chicken, and there will now be a KFC movie to explore that. More specifically, The Colonel’s Secret: Eleven Herbs and a Spicy Daughter, a memoir written by Sanders’ daughter Margaret about his life and their complicated relationship is being adapted into a feature film. Screenwriter Cheryl Guerriero is adapting the screenplay and will produce, along with Meridian Pictures’ Eric Paquette. The movie will delve into Colonel Sanders’ tumultuous, nearly mythically American life, which is sure to be a wild ride for audiences. Suitably for a man who made his fortune late in life with pressure-cooked chicken, the movie is currently titled A Finger Lickin’ Good Story: The Life of Colonel Sanders.
Any KFC movie would be utterly incomplete without Colonel Harlan Sanders, but it seems that Cheryl Guerriero is going to focus more on the life of the man than the now-global fast-food giant. Sanders actually went into the restaurant industry later in life. Initially, he opened a gas filling station for the Shell Oil Company in 1930, and began preparing and serving food there as essentially a side gig. It was actually a long and circuitous path that ultimately led to the franchising of the concept “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” which involved motel ownership, extramarital affairs, a fire, and Sanders shooting a business rival. Yes, you read that correctly. At one point in his life, Colonel Sanders was in a gunfight with a local competitor that ended up with a person dead (shot by his rival Matt Stewart). It is probably important to point out that Sanders’ shooting Stewart in the shoulder was ruled self-defense (though also aggravated by Sanders’ aggressive business practices).
The KFC movie that will be known as A Finger Lickin’ Good Story: The Life of Colonel Sanders (which is just fun to write) will likely focus on Colonel Sanders’ many careers, including as a railroad worker, a lawyer (until he got into a physical fight in a courtroom), a soldier (though not an actual military colonel), and an emergency midwife. After selling the rights to Kentucky Fried Chicken (many years prior to its shortening to the ever-shifting acronym KFC), Sanders later publicly criticized the enormously growing chain for its perceived reduction in quality, resulting in a lawsuit between the company and its founder.
Speaking of which, the upcoming KFC movie follows in the footsteps of the 2016 biopic The Founder, which saw Michael Keaton portray another complicated icon of the fast-food industry, McDonald’s chairman Ray Kroc. While that movie was critically well-regarded, its release was hampered by alleged internal politics in The Weinstein Company and resulted in a lawsuit. Hopefully that will not be the case for this movie about the life of a legendary businessman who has achieved immortality via a rotating cast of impersonators. Besides, this is not the first KFC movie produced. Next up, we will just to get a movie about the life of Wendy’s Dave Thomas in production.