Cannes 2008: Weinstein Acquires The Alchemist for Fishburne

Harvey will produce, while Laurence will direct and star.

by | May 18, 2008 | Comments

Harvey Weinstein announced at a Cannes press conference this morning that The Weinstein Company had acquired the rights to Paulo Coelho’s international bestseller The Alchemist for a big-screen adaptation to star and be directed by Laurence Fishburne. Weinstein will personally produce the film.

Over the last twenty years The Alchemist has sold more than 30 million copies and hit bestseller lists in 18 countries. Despite releasing in 1988, the book has spent 34 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and currently rests at number 6 — evidence, Weinstein says, of its renewed popularity.

“Personally producing a project is rare for me, but bringing The Alchemist to the screen has been my dream,” he said. “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 jumpstart this project and we are eager to get going.”

The story is about a shepherd boy called Santiago who leaves his hometown in search of treasure and comes across the alchemist, who’ll be played by Fishburne. Weinstein announced the film would be budgeted at $60m but that he planned to tell a spiritual, not a blockbusting story.

Through a video message Fishburne spoke of his pleasure at being offered the project. “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.”

We’ll have more from Weinstein very soon.