Fishburne has purpose with 'Alchemist'


Laurence Fishburne and A-Mark Entertainment have acquired the film rights to the best-selling novel "The Alchemist" from Warner Bros. Pictures with the intent of making the movie themselves.

Warners acquired author Paulo Coelho's philosophical book -- about a traveler journeying the world during the Inquisition in order to find man's purpose in the world -- in 2003 as a Fishburne vehicle. Since its debut in 1988, the book has been translated into 56 languages and has sold more than 40 million copies in more than 150 countries.

The road to the screen, however, has been almost as arduous as the traveler's journey.

Fishburne wrote the screenplay for the film and also is set to direct. Barrie Osborne ("The Lord of the Rings") is producing alongside "Akeelah and the Bee" producers Fishburne and Helen Sugland.

The filmmakers' take is described as "Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones," with a sweeping adventure centering on a young Spaniard who embarks on a quest to find a hidden treasure within the Egyptian pyramids and ends up discovering a personal treasure that eclipses his wildest expectations.

A-Mark Entertainment's Steve Markoff and Bruce McNall are executive producing.

Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group, Osborne and Kathy Morgan through her KMI Films are establishing financing for the project through a combination of private-equity funding and international presales. The big worldwide boxoffice potential for "Alchemist" is the impetus for the funding.

A-Mark, an independent finance and production company, this year saw the release of its first picture, "Alpha Dog." It also is prepping the World War II epic "Dragonfly," a love story set in Japanese -occupied Indonesia, and is co-producing Warren Zide's "American Summer" and "Autopsy," shooting in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., respectively.