Laurence Fishburne

Jeffrey Mayer/

Two decades after Paulo Coelho's best-selling novel was published, it's finally headed for the big screen.

Producer extraordinaire Harvey Weinstein confirmed while making the Cannes Film Festival rounds that the Weinstein Co. would produce the adaptation, to star and be directed by Laurence Fishburne.

The book, which was released in 1988, sold 30 million copies and became a best-seller in 18 countries, chronicles the journey of Santiago, a Spanish shepherd boy who heads off to Africa in search of treasure only to have his purpose altered after meeting an alchemist (to be played by Fishburne) along the way.

"This is a special project that now has a special team behind it to ensure that its path to the big screen is handled with the proper care it deserves," the actor said.

The film has been given a $60 million budget and will begin shooting next year around the globe, in Europe, the Middle East and north Africa.

It's already earned the seal of approval from the author himself.

"I am very happy that my book will be filmed in the way I intended it to be, and I hope the spirit and simplicity of my work will be preserved."

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