Updated 04:57 PM EST, Thu, Dec 02, 2021

'The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho Movie Adaptation: Release Date, Cast, Spoilers & What We Know So Far

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Idris Elba is in negotiation to star in the film adaptation of Paulo Coelho's bestselling novel "The Alchemist."

Deadline reported the news, saying that the British actor, along with Laurence Fishburne, are currently in talks with The Weinstein Company (TWC) for the project. Fishburne is said to direct the movie.

"The Alchemist" centers on Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd who embarks on a trip to Egypt from his homeland in Spain to look for a hidden treasure buried in the Pyramids. Coelho's novel, which was published in 1988, sold more than 65 million copies translated in 56 different languages, Deadline noted.

Coelho first sold the book's rights to Warner Bros. in 1994 for $250,000, the news outlet wrote. After a few years without anything significant happening to the project, the Brazilian author offered to buy back the rights for $2 million, an offer which was refused by the production company. Later on, Fishburne got hold of the novel's movie rights under his indie banner, A-Mark Entertainment.

However, some speculations said that TWC had acquired the project from Fishburne and A-Mark "for just under $3 million in a deal brokered by Paradigm," which also represents the actor, Deadline explained. At 2006's Cannes Film Festival, TWC's Harvey Weinstein announced he would be producing the project.

"The film will be a bridge to the Middle East. The book has been an overwhelming success there. It's a part of the world we need to know more about and extend bridges to it," Weinstein said at the time, as quoted by Latin Times.

Weinstein is also said to be "courting money from the region," Deadline wrote. Fishburne was assumed to have discussed matters with members of Abu Dhabi's royal family and the Japanese conglomerate, the Kadokawa group. Latin Times noted that the movie adaptation of "The Alchemist" will most likely start shooting in 2016.

One of the reasons why the project got stuck in development for so long "has always been just how much action should be included in the adaptation of Coelho's largely spiritual, if epic, tale," Deadline wrote. Aside from this, the adaptation's budgets have changed from $60 million to $100 million in past years.

According to The Guardian, Fishburne has only directed one movie thus far, 2000's "Crime In the Life." Elba, meanwhile, can next be seen in Justin Lin's "Star Trek 3." The 42-year-old actor also produced the one-hour documentary, "Mandela, My Dad & Me," along with his production banner Green Door Pictures, Deadline reported.

"Mandela, My Dad & Me," which is directed by Daniel Vernon and is acquired by A+E Networks, is based on the record "Mi Mandela." The South African album was recorded by Elba to honor Nelson Mandela and the actor's own father, Deadline added.

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