Bestselling Brazilian author Paolo Coelho is in talks to develop two of his most popular novels into films.
The Alchemist was first published in Portuguese in 1988 a became world-wide success that has been translated into over 67 languages. The film has been in development with the Weinstein Co. since last year's Cannes film festival. Harvey Weinstein had originally announced Laurence Fishburne as the star of the film, but since then Fishburne joined the cast of CSI and replaced William Petersen as the hugely popular show's lead.
But Coelho has faith, saying, "If there is one person in the world who can make a movie out of The Alchemist it's Harvey Weinstein," he enthused, "We had a very long conversation about how it should be, how it should not be. At the end of the day it's his movie. It's my book, but it's his movie."
The famous scribe had much more of say in the cinematic development of The Experimental Witch a project based on his novel The Witch of Portobello, about a reluctant witch whose life story is narrated by 15 different characters. Last June, Coelho invited filmmakers from around the world to submit their interpretations of each of the book's narratives to his MySpace page. After choosing the winning 15, he then worked with editors to string the stories together and cut the finished project from a running time of five plus hours to just under two.
"Now I'd love to see a worldwide release in a major platform like
YouTube, or MySpace, or Facebook after it world premieres at the Rome
Film Festival in October," said the author. "The industry is complaining a lot about new models, but they are thinking within a box. I'm going to try a new economical model." Sounds like Coelho is a few steps ahead of the Hollywood game.