Paulo Coelho, who wrote the best selling book The Alchemist, traffics in bullshit yuppie spirituality, kind of a better dressed Carlos Castaneda who just loves doing book signings. Check out ‘The Magus,’ a profile of Coelho in an issue of The New Yorker this past May – the guy acts like a rock star to his slavering legions of fans who aren’t sophisticated enough to pick up philosophy on their own and who find Coelho’s middling meditations on meaning mindblowing.
Laurence Fishburne has been long attached to star in a film version of The Alchemist, which is about a man traveling the world to fulfill his Personal Legend, or purpose in life. The film has been sort of hanging around in development for a while, but now the voice of the Silver Surfer is taking his own Personal Legend into his own hands; along with A-Mark Entertainment he’s bought the rights to the book from Warner Bros and he’s going to make the movie himself.
Fishburne will not only star in The Alchemist, he’s writing and directing, making this an incredible act of potential personal hubris. Fishburne previously wrote and directed a film called Once in the Life, which no one saw, so I can’t tell you if he’s any good at it. It’ll be interesting to see who attacks him more: film critics or Coelho’s rabid fans.