CANNES: The Weinstein Company announced at the Cannes Film Festival that Harvey Weinstein will produce Paulo Coelho’s international best-selling novel The Alchemist and that The Weinstein Company will hold exclusive worldwide motion picture and television rights for the film.
The Weinstein Company president Glen Basner will handle global sales. The Alchemist was packaged by the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group and represents Laurence Fishburne, the star, director and producer of the project, along with manager Helen Sugland, and attorneys Nina Shaw and Jeff Finkelstein.
The announcement builds on the Weinstein’s success of adapting beloved literary classics including The English Patient, Cider House Rules, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Cold Mountain to film. Since its debut in Brazil in 1988, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist has captured the hearts and minds of millions of readers across the world selling over 30 million copies and reaching first place on best-seller lists in 18 countries. The book has also captivated a new generation of readers and has appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for 34 weeks, placing at #6 on this week’s paperback trade fiction list.
The Weinstein Company is currently in negotiations with an Academy Award winning screenwriter to adapt the novel into a screenplay, which will be announced shortly. Production teams from past Weinstein produced films such as Gangs of New York, Cold Mountain, The English Patient, and The Aviator, will be brought on board to work on the film. As producer, Harvey Weinstein has already begun to scout locations all over the world.
Various locations in Europe, as well as the Middle East, including Jordan, Abu Dhabi and Northern Africa will serve as backdrops for this global shoot. To join Fishburne in the cast, a search in Spain and Latin America for the role of Santiago will start shortly and other stars are expected to be announced to round out the cast.
The Weinstein Company co-chairman Harvey Weinstein stated, "Personally producing a project is rare for me, but bringing The Alchemist to the screen has been my dream. It is a spiritual and moving story and I am thrilled to be working side by side with Laurence. The pieces are now in place to jump start this project and we are eager to get going."
Coelho stated, "I am very happy that my book will be filmed in the way I intended it to be and I hope the spirit and simplicity of my work will be preserved. I am excited my friend Laurence Fishburne and Harvey Weinstein will be working together."
Said Fishburne, "This is a special project that now has a special team behind it to ensure that its path to the big screen is handled with the proper care it deserves. I am looking forward to directing it, acting in it, and collaborating with Harvey Weinstein to produce a beautiful film that will do justice to Paulo’s enormously successful novel."
The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain, he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist. The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.
The Alchemist joins TWC’s diverse slate of adaptations of best-selling novels including Youth in Revolt, The Reader, and Wolf Boy.