EXCLUSIVE: The Murders Of Molly Southbourne, a novella written by Tade Thompson which is designed as the first in an ongoing series from MacMillan Publishing imprint Tor.com, has just been optioned by Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment (a co-venture with Primary Wave Entertainment). The company is clearly gearing up as this marks the second book to be brought into the company this week, with Welle winning a bidding war over the hot property Alpha Girls just about four days ago.

Schulman will produce Southbourne as a feature film with Krishnan Menon and Adam Stone (Sleepless, The Voices) at Phenomenon Entertainment, who brought the project to Welle. Brendan Deneen (Gangland Undercover) and the book’s editor Carl Engle-Laird will serve as executive producers through Macmillian Entertainment.

The Murders Of Molly Southbourne is described as “an elevated psychological horror story about Molly Southbourne, a young woman who creates a murderous copy of herself any time she bleeds. Trained her whole life to kill these “mollys,” Molly begins to question where the evil lives, wondering whether it’s better to continue fighting or let herself be overcome by the inescapable horde.”

Bringing in yet another female-facing project is not surprising for Schulman, given that she has been such a strong advocate for women’s rights and promoting gender parity as president of Women in Film. She also served at STX and was involved in the development of the box office hit Bad Moms, which spawned a sequel.

Thompson also wrote the sci-fi novel Rosewater and Making Wolf. Deneen, who now runs Macmillan Entertainment, was formerly a development executive for Scott Rudin and Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Deneen made the deal for Thompson. Former colleagues Schulman and Stone worked closely at Mandalay Pictures and Mandalay Vision.

Schulman also recently optioned The Trials Of Nina McCall by Scott Wasserman Stern, as she continues to build the company’s slate with a cross-section of commercial genres, challenging perceptions about what defines “female films” and bucking the “chick flick” stereotype of the past few decades.

Phenomenon Entertainment is the new film and TV production arm of the disruptive top-tier marketing and branding agency Phenomenon which works with Flywheel, Starwood, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, and Pepsi. Stone is currently in pre-production on Nimona for Fox Animation.

Macmillan Entertainment is the in-house film and TV production company at Macmillan Publishers, the fifth largest publishing company in the U.S. They have a number of projects currently in development: Seal Team 666 with Dwayne Johnson, Battling Boy at Paramount with Plan B producing, Crooked Brooklyn at Universal TV with Alec Baldwin producing, American Blood at Fox TV, and Stranded at Warner Horizon. Their TV series Gangland Undercover just finished its second season on History.

Tor.com Publishing has published the Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, the Nebula-winning Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire, and the Shirley Jackson Award winner The Ballad Of Black Tom by Victor LaValle.