The Big Picture
- The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coelho, is being adapted into a film by Jack Thorne for Legendary Pictures and TriStar. The novel is an allegorical narrative that has gained popularity as a self-help guide and holds the record for being the most translated work by a living author.
- Jack Thorne is a renowned British writer and playwright, known for his work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and for his collaborations with the Duffer Brothers. He has also written for TV and adapted other famous novels for the screen.
- Previous attempts to adapt The Alchemist to film have failed, but this new adaptation is currently in development. Stay tuned to Collider for updates on the progress of the project.
The Alchemist, the allegorical 1988 bestseller, is headed for the big screen. Jack Thorne has been tapped to adapt the novel. Variety reports that the Paulo Coelho novel is in development at Legendary Pictures and TriStar. The novel, originally published in Portuguese in Coelho’s native Brazil, tells the tale of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd, who dreams of a great treasure buried beneath the Egyptian pyramids. He sets out on a quest to find it, finding friendship, true love, and the titular alchemist along the way —but learns that the real treasure may have been closer than he thought all along.
More an allegorical narrative than a standard work of literature, the book has become something of a self-help guide, touted by Oprah Winfrey and other popular tastemakers. The book was an international hit and holds the record for being the most translated work by a living author.
Who Is Jack Thorne?
Thorne is a BAFTA-, Olivier-, and Tony-winning British writer and playwright. He first gained international attention with his script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the stage continuation of J.K. Rowling‘s saga; he is currently co-writing the stage play Stranger Things: The First Shadow with the Duffer Brothers. Thorne has also written extensively for TV, with episodes of Skins, Electric Dreams, and the This is England series under his belt; he also adapted Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials novels for HBO and wrote the jazz miniseries The Eddy for Damien Chazelle.
He has written a number of screenplays, as well, including Wonder, The Aeronauts, Radioactive, and Enola Holmes and its sequel. His most recent work, Best Interests, a four-part miniseries starring Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen, premiered in June. He is currently slated to write a TV adaptation of Lord of the Flies, and Toxic Town, a Netflix miniseries based on the Corby toxic waste scandal.
There have been a number of attempts to adapt The Alchemist to film in the past. Upon the book’s initial success, Warner Brothers purchased the adaptation rights, but Coelho retained script approval and was dissatisfied with the proposed scripts. Most recently, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith‘s Westbrook Studios acquired the rights, but the film failed to materialize. It has previously been adapted for the stage, into a graphic novel, and served to inspire a concept album with Coelho’s blessing.
The Alchemist is currently in development. Stay tuned to Collider for future updates.