“The Alchemist” Is Coming to the Big Screen and I Am Freaking Out

The Alchemist

It was announced yesterday that TriStar, a division of Sony Pictures, has made moves to bring Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist to the big screen.

Kevin Frakes, from PalmStar Media, bought the rights for the book for $6.5 million during the Toronto Film Festival. He, along with TriStar president Hannah Minghella and Cinema Gypsy’s Laurence Fishburne, will bring this classic novel to life. Fishburne, who has long been attached to this project as director, said, “I’m thrilled to be moving this project forward after all these years.”

Said Frakes:

The Alchemist changed my life when I first read it almost 20 years ago. It helped give me the courage to take chances and the confidence to chase my dream. In my first conversation with Hanna about The Alchemist, I realized she understood the impact this novel has and I knew I wanted to make this film with TriStar. I could not be more excited that we are starting the journey together.

Deadline made the announcement yesterday, but I was deep in a Luke Cage marathon and didn’t see the news until I came in to work this morning. Let’s just say I might have freaked out a bit.

For those who may be unfamiliar with The Alchemist, the story centers on Santiago, a Spanish shepherd who dreams of treasure buried beneath the pyramids and sells his flock to chase his dream. There are many obstacles he must face and lessons he must learn along the way.

I first read The Alchemist when I was in high school. I bought it because I used to have the habit of judging books based on their covers* and the version of the cover I have proudly proclaims that this is “a fable about following your dream”. As I grew up in a small town and was bored out of my mind, and as I was also deeply unhappy at that point in my life, I eagerly picked it up and proceeded to devour it.

Coehlo is a devout Catholic who left the faith in his 20s but returned after a spiritual awakening. I’m agnostic, and even when I was a teenager I was a little iffy on the whole concept of religion, and because I wasn’t looking for it I completely missed the heavy Christian undertones in the book. (Symbolism has never been my strong point, and I say that as an English major and fiction writer.) I read it as what it was – a fable about following your dream – and it deeply affected me. I have tried, ever since, to do what I could to achieve my dreams. It hasn’t been easy, but I do my best to be a good person and keep my eyes peeled for opportunities.

I am, as you can tell by my tweets, ridiculously excited about The Alchemist becoming a film. I also worry about the movie not doing the book justice, but it helps that everyone attached to it so far are as big a fans as I am. Mostly, I think about what the film will be like. I think it would do really well as an animated film along the same lines as the recent The Little Prince adaptation.

Have you guys read The Alchemist? What do you think about this news?

*While it is true that you shouldn’t just a book by its cover, there is a whole department in publishing that works very hard to get you to do exactly that. Please don’t disappoint the poor art department. I often buy books simply based on their covers. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it is a disaster.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.


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