The Alchemist film adaptation is reportedly facing another production delay, a week after production studios announced filming will initially begin this September.
A production spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) in an exclusive report that the project has been shut down and the crew was sent home due to a rights transfer issue.
“This isn’t a financing issue, this is just an issue with a rights transfer. There was a gap in an ordinary-course execution of the production rights transfer, and as a result, production entered a temporary shutdown,” the spokesperson said.
“We expect to be back up and running with our incredible cast and crew as soon as the rights transfer concludes, and we can get everyone back on set,” the spokesperson added.
Kevin Frakes, who is directing and producing the film, and Buddy Patrick, both of PalmStar Media, in 2016 have acquired rights to The Alchemist for $6.5 million for its book rights, developed scripts, and potential backend, as reported by Deadline.
Production delays and transfer rights are not new for The Alchemist. Before PalmStar had the rights, as reported by THR, Warner Bros. first acquired the rights to the film before Laurence Fishburne bought the film rights in 1988, wanting to develop the adaptation. In 2006, The Weinstein Co. acquired the film rights to Fishburne, as reported by THR.
Following the report, writer Paulo Coelho responded that he is not familiar with the news and does not want to get involved in the production.
As for #TheAlchemist as a movie (previous tweet): I have no news and I do not want to get involved in the production. I will watch it when it is ready.
But I sold the rights in 1992, so "Maktub"...
Needless to say that I am a big fan of Will Smith— Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) July 19, 2021
The Alchemist tells the epic quest of a young Andalusian shepherd boy, Santiago (Sebastian de Souza), on his journey toward realizing his dream and life purpose.
Last July 9, it was announced that the principal photography of the film adaptation is set to begin this September in Morocco, produced by Will Smith and Jon Mone for Westbrook Studios, Frakes and Raj Singh for PalmStar Media, and Gil Netter for Netter Films.
If this delay would not push developments in production for too long, the film may still have its planned Holiday 2022 release with a global distribution.
(Image from The Alchemist film Instagram account)