EXCLUSIVE: Works by Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist) are headed to the small screen. American Gods producer FremantleMedia North America, Random House Studio and Dancing Ledge Productions have signed an exclusive deal with the famous Brazilian author to develop the first-ever TV drama series based on his books.
Exploring themes and characters from Coelho’s novels The Devil and Miss Prym, Brida and The Witch of Portobello, all published by Harper Collins, the crime thriller will explore the human condition, celebrating Coelho’s multi-layered and inspirational storytelling.
The yet-untitled TV series follows a young priest who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption – ostracized by his church, a fugitive from the law, and hunted by a powerful crime family. Meanwhile, the CIA agent chasing him discovers mysterious powers, and a more profound connection to the priest than she ever thought possible.
Coelho, who is known for his deep connection with his audience, will introduce each episode and share thoughts on its themes. He also will be involved with the creative development of the project. Search is currently underway for a showrunner to pen the adaptation.
FMNA’s Dante Di Loreto and Random House Studio’s Peter Gethers executive produce with Laurence Bowen of Dancing Ledge Productions, in which FremantleMedia has an ownership stake.
“There has never been a more prolific, thought-provoking and socially engaged author as Paulo Coelho,” said Di Loreto, president of Scripted Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America. “His stories make us look at the world differently, tapping into our true selves to further discover our place within the journey for hope, inspiration and social change.”
The Devil and Miss Prym, published in 2000, is set in a small village and centers on a young, poor barmaid whose wager with the devil leads to a spiritual transformation.
Brida, published in 1990, centers on the title character Brida, a young Irish girl, who has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom.
The Witch of Portobello, published in 2007, is about a woman born in Transylvania to a Romani mother in a gypsy tribe without wedlock. The central character is abandoned by her birth mother because the father was a foreigner (gadje) and later adopted by a wealthy Lebanese couple.
Coelho is best known as author of The Alchemist, which has sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than 80 languages, and remains a New York Times best-seller 25 years after its initial publication. Coelho has a strong presence on social media with more than 29 million Facebook followers and 15 million Twitter followers. The 2015 WorldPost/GDI Global Thought Leaders Index listed Coelho as the #2 most influential global voice, just behind Pope Francis, who holds the #1 position. Currently, Coelho is published by Alfred A. Knopf, Vintage and Vintage Espanol, with titles including Aleph, Manuscript Found in Accra, Adultery, The Spy and Hippie, which will be published in September 2018.
“Hundreds of millions of people have discovered in Paulo Coelho’s writing a universality that feels deeply personal. Here we want to celebrate his vision and weave together elements of his work into a gripping new epic journey. We couldn’t be more excited,” said Laurence Bowen, CEO of Dancing Ledge Productions.
FremantleMedia North America recently acquired the rights to Astro City superhero comic book series to develop as a live-action TV drama series. Upcoming projects for FremantleMedia on a global scale include the adaptation of Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North; the re-imagining of the popular Australian novel by Joan Lindsay, Picnic At Hanging Rock; the drama version of Elena Ferrante’s international bestselling book My Brilliant Friend, commissioned by HBO and RAI; an adaption of Mervyn Peake’s critically acclaimed Gormenghast fantasy book series and Deutschland86, the sequel of the award-winning UFA Fiction series Deutschland83 produced in cooperation with Amazon Germany.