Sony's TriStar Pictures "has stepped up to make a worldwide rights deal to turn the Paulo Coelho novel The Alchemist into a feature film," Deadline reported, noting that the book "has been guided creatively for years by Cinema Gypsy's Laurence Fishburne, who will take it the rest of the way in partnership with fellow producer, PalmStar Media's Kevin Frakes, and TriStar president Hannah Minghella."
"I'm thrilled to be moving this project forward after all these years," Fishburne said.
"The Alchemist changed my life when I first read it almost 20 years ago," Frakes added. "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."
Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd will join Mel Gibson and Sean Penn in The Professor and the Madman, based on Simon Winchester's bestselling novel The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Deadline reported that this is "a passion project for Gibson, who's been working to adapt the book for nearly two decades." Farhad Safinia is directing a script he wrote with John Boorman (Hope and Glory) and Todd Komarnicki (Sully).