Many Coelho fans have been waiting for this moment. Filming on what is perhaps one of the best-loved novels by the world-successful Brazilian author will begin in September.
Sebastian de Souza, Tom Hollander, and Shohreh Aghdashloo are set to star in the long-awaited film adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s popular novel The Alchemist.
The project, set to start production in Morroco in September, has seen a road to the screen as slow and winding as the traveler’s journey in Coelho’s philosophical book. Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios, Netter Films, and PalmStar Media are producing the movie, which is directed by Kevin Frakes. De Souza will play the role of Santiago, alongside Hollander and Aghdashloo. The ensemble cast includes Jordi Molla, Youssef Kerkour, and Ashraf Barhom.
“The Alchemist” follows a young Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago on an epic quest for a life-changing treasure. The book is an international best-seller and beloved literary work; the film’s cast and crew represent the authenticity of the story’s setting in Spain and North Africa, as well as the diversity of a global and diverse production.
The principals were all moved to rally around the project by Coelho’s text, especially Frakes. He spearheaded a deal to pull the project away from The Weinstein Company during the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, for $5 million upfront for book rights and developed scripts, with a potential backend that raised the whole deal to $6.5 million.
This for a book that has sold more than 100 million copies in 56 languages and holds the Guinness world record for most translated work by a living author, which portends a potentially global audience. The Brazilian author first sold rights in 1994 to Warner Bros for $250,000; Laurence Fishburne acquired the rights later, and TWC came into the mix later.
“Hundreds of millions of people over the past three decades have found inspiration in “The Alchemist” to pursue their dreams, listen to their hearts, and never to lose hope when faced with adversity,” said Netter in a statement. The film’s production team also includes Oscar-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda, and the script was co-written by Frakes and Ryan Kreston. Zakaria Alaoui is the local producer and Manu Gargi is executive producing.
The book is as popular in Hungary as anywhere else in the world. It is one of the country’s 100 most popular books and Hungarian celebrities have also appeared on Coelho‘s Instagram while reading another of his books, Hippie, published in 2018.