MADRID — The Pilgrim: The Best Story of Paulo Coelho will wrap shooting in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela — the final stop on the Way of St. James pilgrimage — next week, in an interweaving of reality and symbolism befitting the biography of the famous Brazilian writer best known for the allegorical tale The Alchemist.
The hush-hush project stars Ravel and Julio Andrade as the young and old Coelho in what is promised to be a magical transformation thanks to special effects provided by makeup artist Stephen Murphy (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hellboy II). The film, directed by Daniel Augusto, is toplined by Paz Vega and Fabiana Gugli.
Pedro Almodovar‘s regular art director Antxon Gomez also ups the production value of the project that producers say has “a sizable budget for Brazil and Spain.”
“Paulo is the most read living author, translated into more languages than any other, with The Alchemist on the NYT top 10 list since it was published,” said producer Iona de Macedo. “But people don’t know his life story. And his work and his philosophy draw on his life experiences.”
Those experiences apparently include electric-shock treatment as a child and torture under Brazil’s dictatorship.
“Despite the worst kind of circumstances, he always wanted to be a writer, and our movie is about someone who doesn’t give up. It is a very inspirational tale,” de Macedo said, pointing out that the original title in Portuguese comes from one of the writer’s most popular Brazilian rock songs that translates roughly to “Don’t Stop on the Road.”
The film is the life story of the famed writer as told to screenwriter-producer Carolina Kotscho.
An 80-20 co-production between Brazil’s Dama Filmes, headed by Kotscho and de Macedo, and Angelica Huete‘s Babel Films in Spain, the film was largely financed by private equity secured by G5 Evercore.
Sony holds distribution rights in Brazil, with the film’s release scheduled for the first half of 2014.