EXCLUSIVE: Welle Entertainment has acquired the film and TV rights to Julian Guthrie’s nonfiction book Alpha Girls about the unsung female heroes of Silicon Valley. It won the property after a bidding war that included Amazon, Universal, Brett Ratner, Smokehouse and others. The book, scheduled for publication in 2019, also was the subject of a heated publishing auction and ended up at Currency Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.
Described as Hidden Figures meets The Social Network, Alpha Girls is the untold story of the real unicorns of Silicon Valley — the women who identified, dressed down, moved up and built the companies that changed the world. The book explores the rise of such companies as Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla, Oracle, Salesforce and more – all through the eyes of trailblazing “alpha girls” of Silicon Valley.
Cathy Schulman, president and CEO of Welle Entertainment is also the head of Women in Film, so it is not surprising that she is bringing in material that demonstrates the power of women to be adapted into film and TV properties and just, in general, female-facing content.
“We are going to look at each one of these women and organically develop their stories,” said Schulman. “These stories regarding the most powerful women in Silicon Valley are the definition of what Welle Entertainment is all about: women in high-stakes, high-drama worlds. Each of these women’s stories is gripping, treacherous, heroic and entertaining, and I can’t wait until we can pull them out from behind the gender curtain and give them their rightful place in contemporary history.”
Guthrie’s most recent book – How to Make a Spaceship (Penguin Press) – made several “best of” lists and was a shortlist finalist for a PEN Award. It was also a New York Times bestseller. Guthrie spent 20 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she also won numerous awards and was nominated multiple times for a Pulitzer. In addition to Spaceship, she is the author of two other nonfiction books: The Grace of Everyday Saints and The Billionaire and the Mechanic.
Guthrie is repped by Joe Veltre at Gersh, who brokered the deal with Welle, which is a co-venture with Primary Wave Entertainment. Schulman, along with Jeff Gaspin, were recently brought on board at Primary Wave to run the film and TV departments, respectively.
Primary Wave also is moving quickly forward in the female-facing content business, having recently been part of the first casting of Iranian-American actress Tala Ashe portraying the Muslim-American superhero of the CW drama DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The company also reps Gina Rodriguez who is starring in the remake of Miss Bala for Sony, with Catherine Hardwicke directing and Kevin Misher producing. Finally, Primary Wave’s client Lucy Fry is starring in Netflix’s upcoming David Ayer-directed film Bright, which also stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton; that will come out at Christmas.