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Laurence Fishburne might direct Idris Elba in The Alchemist

No Good Deed

After more than 20 years in development hell, an adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s bestselling allegorical novel The Alchemist might be making its way to theaters. Deadline reports that The Weinstein Company is in talks with Hannibal star Laurence Fishburne to direct the film, with Idris Elba as the potential star. Fishburne previously owned the film rights to the book, although it’s unclear whether he’s since sold them to the Weinsteins.

Coelho’s novel tells the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd who goes on a quest to Egypt in search of his “Personal Legend,” which he thinks the universe will conspire to help him achieve. (It’s a lot like The Secret, except with a lot more walking and sand). If that sounds a little less action-packed than you might expect from the stars of The Matrix and Pacific Rim, then that may explain why it’s taken so long for the film version to make its way onto movie screens.


Elba is currently busy with upcoming film roles as a guerrilla leader, a hypothetical Klingon, and almost-certainly-not James Bond. Meanwhile, season 3 of Hannibal debuted last night, and although Fishburne wasn’t present, he remains a series regular and is expected to return. The actor made his first (and only) outing as a director back in 2000 with an adaptation of his play Once In The Life. That was less of a thoughtful treatise on the nature of human spirituality and more of a gritty crime drama, so it remains to be seen how he’ll do with The Alchemist’s more meditative tone.

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