It’s been a full two decades of stops and starts, with everyone from Warner Bros. to The Weinstein Co. having a go. Now the latest attempt to do a feature adaption of Paulo Coelho’s beloved 1988 novel has apparently been shut down, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Just over a month ago, it was announced at the Cannes Film Festival that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios was joining Netter Films to produce The Alchemist with a cast led by Sebastian de Souza, Tom Hollander and Shohreh Aghdashloo. The Hollywood Reporter stated that PalmStar Media, which had acquired the screen rights to the book some five years ago, would finance, with the company’s founder, Kevin Frakes, set to direct. A September shoot in Morocco was imminent, and a 2022 release was planned.
Now, with the project in preproduction and crew and some cast already on the ground, Alchemist‘s journey to the screen has turned to lead. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that financing has hit undisclosed obstacles. The project has been shut down, and the crew sent home, according to sources quoted by Hollywood Reporter.
However, a production spokesperson said the film remains fully financed and instead ran into a rights-transfer issue. The issue is anticipated to be resolved in the coming days and the project back on track within weeks, potentially.
So fingers crossed on this one…