It seems there’s another bend in the long road to bring the spiritual novel The Alchemist to the screen. The Weinstein Co. is putting the project, based on the worldwide bestseller by Paolo Coelho, in a 12-month turnaround, according to Deadline.
The film has been in various stages of development for the better part of a decade. The rights were initially purchased by Warner Bros., who never got the film off the ground. Warner eventually sold the rights to Laurence Fishburne (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and A-Mark Entertainment, with an eye toward Fishburne directing. When financing didn’t materialize, the Weinsteins stepped in, announcing their involvement at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, with Fishburne still attached to direct. The project seemed to be picking up steam this past June, with reports that Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) was in talks for the lead role.
The novel follows a young Spaniard who embarks on a spiritual and ambitious journey in the Egyptian desert. The epic scope of Coelho’s novel is thought to be a big part of the reason the film has never gotten off the ground, with reported budgets ranging for $60 million to $100 million.
The move to put the film into a twelve month turnaround comes just as the Weinsteins are making changes to slim down their organization. Several dozen staffers were recently pink-slipped, and the company is focusing on efforts to cut back their annual releases from 18 titles to between 8 and 10 in order to also put more focus on their profitable television endeavors.