As you’d expect from someone who’s reigned as one of Hollywood’s biggest and most bankable stars for 25 years, Will Smith has plenty of clout in the industry. His name alone is more than enough to get virtually any project green lit, but things aren’t going so smoothly for his latest venture on the other side of the camera.
As a producer, Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment have been involved in a number of surprising titles including Cobra Kai, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the Annie remake and Samuel L. Jackson thriller Lakeview Terrace, but the company’s latest effort has hit the skids in a major way.
People have been trying to adapt Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist for the big screen dating back decades, and Smith’s outfit recently stepped in to help produce the project, which is poised to mark the directorial debut of John Wick and Hereditary producer Kevin Scott Frakes. Sebastian de Souza, Tom Hollander and Shohreh Aghdashloo are all signed on to star, with shooting penciled in to kick off in September with an eye to a 2022 release.
However, with much of the cast and crew already in Morocco waiting for filming to begin, The Alchemist has hit some serious financial snags, with everyone getting sent home and the entire operation now shut down. Representatives are saying things could be back up and running in a few weeks, but for a movie that was first announced to be getting the big screen treatment in the early 1990s, it’s not a good sign.
Laurence Fishburne spent well over a decade trying to develop The Alchemist as a starring and directorial vehicle for himself, and it appears that not even the presence of Will Smith is enough to stop the latest iteration running into trouble.