Rebecca Angelo & Lauren Schuker Blum Launch Business Affairs; WNBA Birth Story ‘Winner Stays’ First Project

Rebecca Angelo & Lauren Schuker Blum Launch Business Affairs; WNBA Birth Story ‘Winner Stays’ First Project

EXCLUSIVE: Dumb Money scribes and EPs Rebecca Angelo and Lauren Schuker Blum are opening thier own new production company, Business Affairs (BA) which will be overseen by Emily Rappaport, the director/screenwriter of the upcoming Lena Dunham and Mauda Apatow movie, Female Friendship, and a book-to-film scout vet.

BA’s first project, which Angelo, Schuker Blum and Rappaport will write under their female-power shingle, is Winner Stays, about the historic women’s national basketball team that paved the way for the creation of the WNBA

The film will follow the true story of the 1996 women’s national team that made sports history with its year-long undefeated season, and its leader, Tara VanDerveer, the “winningest” NCAA basketball coach of all time. The team set the stage for the launch of the WNBA by reclaiming the gold medal for the U.S. at the Olympic Games in Atlanta after a string of international losses. The team comprised twelve iconic players—including legends Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, Teresa Edwards, Katrina McClain, and Rebecca Lobo—who changed the game forever. 

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BA has acquired the rights to the rights to VanDerveer’s 1998 book Shooting from the Outside, co-written with award-winning journalist Joan Ryan. BA also holds VanDerveer’s life rights for the period of the film.

Winner Stays comes as women’s basketball has exploded in popularity. In March, the women’s NCAA championship game drew a bigger television audience than the men’s title game for the first time ever, with an average of 18.9 million viewers watching undefeated South Carolina – led by one of Vanderveer’s 1996 players, Dawn Staley – beat Iowa and superstar Caitlin Clark. Clark’s highly-anticipated WNBA debut also shattered viewership records, drawing 2.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched WNBA game ever. That game drew more viewers than the NBA Finals as well as the World Series. 

Winner Stays is also personal for Rappaport, who lived through it as a child. Her mother Val Ackerman was instrumental in the formation of the national team and went on to be the founding president of the WNBA.

“Coaching the 1996 Olympic Team was a once in a lifetime opportunity that involved incredible sacrifice and pressure.  This team was a group of amazing and mostly unknown world class athletes who brought back the gold,” said VanDerveer. “I am honored that the All-Star team of Lauren, Rebecca and Emily want to tell the story of the 1996 Olympic Team.  I have confidence and trust that this all-female team will do justice to this story and get it right.”

“In this moment, when we look around and see so few great leaders, Tara’s story is an inspiring story of true leadership,” say Blum, Angelo and Rappoport. “She and her players beat enormous odds to achieve greatness on a global scale. It took hard work, true leadership, and sacrifice. This is a patriotic story about the best of America, and we’re excited to tell it.”

Warren Dern at Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern negotiated the rights deal with Vanderveer and Ryan on behalf of Business Affairs. Blum & Angelo are represented by Dern, CAA and 42West.

Rebecca Angelo and Lauren Schuker Blum have been a film and television writing duo since 2012. The pair first met as reporters at The Wall Street Journal. During their time as journalists, they also wrote for The EconomistThe New York Times, and The Washington Post. Their script are known for embracing their journalistic background, and telling propulsive, high-energy stories deeply rooted in time and place but with urgent contemporary resonance. Their first feature, Black Bear/Sony’s Dumb Money, chronicled the January 2021 GameStop short squeeze and stars a prominent ensemble cast featuring Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Pete Davidson, America Ferrera and Nick Offerman. The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival to critical acclaim and Sony Pictures then released the film wide in September 2023.  Angelo and Blum also wrote the upcoming monster Universal/Blumhouse movie The Wolfman, directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Christopher Abbott, which hits cinemas in January. Other upcoming projects include a feature biopic of first-rate talent agent Sue Mengers starring Jennifer Lawrence set up at AppleTV+, which they’ll also executive produce; adapting Michael Lewis’ New York Times Bestselling book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, with filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller attached to direct; and the theatrical feature adaptation of Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated series Murder, She Wrote.  For television, they are currently developing a show with Adam McKay for Netflix. Their previous writing credits include the Emmy-winning series Orange Is The New Black. Angelo and Blum are repped by CAA, Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern, and 42West.